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Tamil Nadu proposes a new airport at Tambaram

T.S. Shankar
and S. Vydhianathan


T.S. Shankar

and S. Vydhianathan

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has sought the technical expertise of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for setting up a new international airport on a 2,000-acre site off Tambaram in Chennai.

The State Government has approached the Civil Aviation Ministry as the Anna International Terminal (AIT) is congested due to "bunching of flights."

"AAI's Planning Department will examine the Tamil Nadu Government's proposal before taking up detailed drawings as sought by the Government". A final decision on the exact location of the airport will be taken later, highly-placed AAI sources said.

The AIT is now being served by 16 international carriers including the two national carriers. Delta Airlines of the United States will start its direct operations out of Chennai from May 11.

The new initiative, according to Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation sources, has been necessitated by Tamil Nadu emerging as the favoured destination of IT companies and automobile units. The AAI has projected a 9.6 per cent growth in passenger traffic in Chennai for the next year.

New arrival module

According to the AAI sources, the not-in-use departure area of the Anna terminal will be converted into a new arrival module, thereby creating an additional 10,000-sqm concourse area to ease congestion especially during "bunching of flights."

The Rs. 22.48-crore modification project is expected to be completed within the next 12 months.

The Kamaraj Domestic Terminal now handles 5.05 lakh passengers. With several new entrants such as Kingfisher, Royal Airlines, Go and SpiceJet set to launch their operations and Air Deccan planning expansion, the existing terminal may be inadequate to cope with the traffic.

Many foreign carriers are looking at the Chennai airport to launch non-stop services and the existing operators have applied for increasing frequencies.

"If the current trend of growth continues, Chennai will become the most sought-after gateway, given its proximity to South-East Asia and because it is relatively less congested compared to Mumbai and New Delhi," the soucres said.

Austrian Airlines also expressed a keen interest in starting services to Chennai.

In principle approval

The Prime Minister has accorded in principle approval to the Civil Aviation Ministry to initiate modernisation of the Chennai airport on a par with the New Delhi and Mumbai airports and to take up expansion of the Madurai, Tiruchi and Coimbatore airports.

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