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GoAir to fly to Karipur

Staff Reporter

First domestic budget airline to Kozhikode

MALAPPURAM: Kozhikode will be one of the destinations for GoAir, low cost airline promoted by the Wadias of Bombay Dyeing, when it begins operations in four months. The airline has approached Calicut Airport authorities seeking permission for launching a service between Mumbai and Karipur. It will be the first domestic budget airline to fly to Kozhikode.

M. Subba Rao, director of Calicut Airport, said on Wednesday that GoAir would begin service from Karipur in September. The airline is set to take off with four Airbus A-320 aircraft leased from GATX Air. New private no-frill airlines such as Spice Jet, Kingfisher and Air Deccan are waiting in the wings. All of them have shown interest to fly to Kozhikode, said Mr. Rao.

Mr. Rao, who took over the office in August 2002, will retire on Thursday. Chinson V.S. Panakkal, deputy general manager of air operations, will be in charge of the airport operations till the Airport Authority of India (AAI) appoints a new director. On the airport's expansion project, Mr. Rao said that the new terminal building would be ready by September 2006. The new building, with a 300 metre porch, will more than double the passenger capacity. With 200 flight movements a week, the airport is poised to cross the million landmark in passenger handling this year. Last year, 8.6-lakh people travelled through Calicut Airport. "We will cross one million this year," said Mr. Rao.

Nearly 30 per cent of the civil work of the new terminal is over. The building will occupy about 35,000 sq.m. and can offer a space of 32 sq.ft. a passenger. This will be close to major international airports across the world, where the space for a passenger is between 35 sq.ft. and 40 sq.ft. Even Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, India's first Greenfield airport in the private-public sector, will have less passenger space than the Calicut Airport.

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