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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Plan to operate domestic flights from new terminal

S. Anil Radhakrishnan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is planning to segregate domestic and international passengers in the new terminal, so as to operate domestic flights too from the facility, which was primarily intended to cater to international flights.

Ancillary facilities like inspection desk, cabins, stainless steel railings and glass partitions have been proposed, as part of the Rs.1.5-crore project, to match the aesthetics of the new terminal. AAI sources told The Hindu that the work involves segregating the security area of the terminal by erecting partition to prevent mingling of the domestic and international travellers.

The Rs.1.5-crore project has been worked out as the AAI is actively considering giving nod to the National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL) to operate domestic and international flights from the new terminal. The proposal had been forwarded to the AAI regional headquarters at Chennai.

As per rule, domestic passengers need not undergo Customs and Emigration check. User agencies have pointed out that operating domestic and international flights from the same terminal will lead to congestion as it has been designed to cater to only international passengers.

Customs officials have already pointed out that clearance cannot be given simultaneously to domestic and international passengers. It will lead to security concerns and even encourage smuggling of goods.

The commencement of domestic flight operations by NACIL will result in giving nod to private carriers also. “If that happens, the proposal to construct a domestic terminal as envisaged in the AAI master plan on the side of the new Rs.300-crore terminal will remain on paper,” airport sources said.

Apprehensions have been raised whether it is a move to scuttle the second phase development of the airport and further land acquisition. The State needs to acquire another 82 acres for any further development of the airport. Funds are not a problem for the AAI for constructing a domestic terminal if land is handed over, the sources said.

Many hurdles have to be overcome by the AAI to commence flight operations from the new terminal of the international airport here even after the proposed trial run on November 2 by Air India using an IX 605 flight of Air India Express coming from Chennai. As it is yet to be notified by the Customs, the international passengers cannot disembark at the new terminal.

Official sources said the AAI is to furnish the details regarding the land acquired and the survey numbers.

The NACIL has also sought more time to create the requisite ground handling facilities. The sources said the NACIL, which is facing shortage of critical equipment, would not be able to create the facilities within one month and that the commencement of flight operations would be delayed.

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