MIAC dusts off proposal for Thiruvambady airport

With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the State government expressing their inability to acquire land for the expansion of the Calicut airport, several groups under the aegis of the Malabar International Airport Committee (MIAC) have dusted off an old proposal for an airport at Thiruvambady in Kozhikode district.

Five years ago, the Malabar Development Council (MDC) had mooted a proposal for the new airport when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) banned the operation of wide-bodied aircraft at the Calicut International Airport. Land for a greenfield airport was identified in 2,165 acres of an estate having helipad facilities at Thiruvambady.

MDC president C.E. Chakkunny said an expert panel had inspected the site a decade ago and had submitted a report that the area stretched across three grama panchayats was suitable for a greenfield airport.

A meeting of local body chiefs and representatives of political parties had urged the State government to reconsider the proposal for the Thiruvambady airport, expected to benefit the hill regions of Kozhikode and the districts of Malappuram and Wayanad.

Mr. Chakkunny said the AAI had asked the State government five years ago to apply for setting up a new greenfield airport at a suitable site under the Greenfield Airport Policy of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. However, the proposal had failed to take off, he said.

“Likewise, the situation completely changed with the commissioning of the Kannur International Airport and the lifting of the ban on wide-bodied aircraft at the Calicut airport. Now, the operation of wide-bodied aircraft has been suspended again after the Air India Express crash in August last,” said Mr. Chakkunny.

However, the setting up of a greenfield airport within 150 km of an existing airport requires exemption in policies from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Moreover, a new project would incur huge funds anywhere between ₹2,000 crore and ₹3,000 crore and entailed considerable risks in a mountainous region. A new airport at Thiruvambady would also create unfavourable circumstances for the existing Calicut airport and the one at Kannur.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 1:33:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/miac-dusts-off-proposal-for-thiruvambady-airport/article36721762.ece

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