TAMIL NADU

Plan to upgrade Madurai, Coimbatore & Tiruchi airports

CHENNAI MAY 22. The National Airports Division of Airports Authority of India has drawn up an ambitious plan to upgrade airports in Madurai, Tiruchi, and Coimbatore to handle widebodied jetliners, including Airbus-300s and Airbus-320s, without any payload penalty.

S.K. Saraswathi, Regional Executive Director of NAD-AAI, told The Hindu that about 50 acres had been acquired in Tiruchi for expansion of its runway to 7,500 feet, re-carpeting the existing one and strengthening the apron area.

Apart from improving the facilities in the operational area, the passenger terminal building would be re-modelled, an airconditioning system provided and the building expanded to accommodate more passengers.

As for Madurai, land acquisition process was on and Rs. 3.05 crores had already been deposited with the State Government.

The expansion plan would facilitate operations of Airbus-300s.

The terminal building was recently modified and the arrival hall expanded to accommodate increased volume of passenger traffic.

In Coimbatore, acquisition of land was under way to extend the runway to 10,000 feet. At all the three airports, the NAD-AAI planned to put up canopies to protect passengers from the vagaries of weather.

A proposal to further augment the cargo capacity in Coimbatore airport by extending the warehouse was on the cards.

To provide modern navigational aids, an instrument landing system (ILS) antenna would soon be installed in Madurai, and the one in Tiruchi would be replaced.

Both Madurai and Tiruchi would have new ILS by the year-end.

Similarly, the existing very-high omnirage frequency radar equipment, another vital radio navigational aid would soon be installed with the latest generation version in Chennai, Madurai and Tiruchi airports, providing more "reliable and accurate signals" to the aircraft. Kancheepuram would also have this facility.

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