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“Steps on to improve facilities at airport”

Staff Reporter

Land needs to be acquired for upgrading airport: official

— Photo: N. Rajesh

On the anvil:D. Prabhakar Seetharam, Manager, Air Traffic Control, Tuticorin Airport, speaking at the meeting in Tuticorin.

Tuticorin: Land needs to be acquired to augment facilities for upgrading the airport to international standards. With the available land, necessary developments were being made, D. Prabhakar Seetharam, Manager, Air Traffic Control, Vagaikulam Airport, Tuticorin, said.

With combined efforts of Civil Aviation Ministry, Airport Authority of India and State government, developments could be possible. In the best interest of passengers, Airport Authority of India is contemplating on further developments. Administrative sanction for acquiring 586 acres of uncultivable land in four villages in Tuticorin had been accorded in July 2010 to expand the airport with modern facilities. But unfortunately, there had been no progress in acquiring lands until now.

Chairing a meeting hosted by Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tuticorin, Mr. Seetharam, said adequate measures were being taken to improve facilities at the airport every year in the existing 188 acres of land. Works including grading of operational area at airport, painting, renovation of the technical blocks and overhead water tank, and installation of flood lights were in progress. Works were being taken up at anti-hijacking control room and overhead refilling for crash fire tenders. Since the four-way road work by National Highways Authority of India was in progress between Tuticorin and Tirunelveli, work to strengthen the approach road to airport could not be taken up. Light facilities and sign boards at proper locations would be established after the road work was completed, Mr. Seetharam said while responding to queries.

On night landing facilities at the airport, he said a minimum of 420 metres was required additionally at the end of the existing 1350-metre runway with its 30-metre width. For instrument approach landings, 800 to 900 metres of land was required. Sixty four trolleys were available at the airport for the convenience of the passengers, he added.

Since commercial activities were hectic, operation of additional flight services from Tuticorin to various destinations would be useful, T. Johnson, President, ICCI, said.

With a long term vision, thousand acres of land should be acquired to modernise the airport on a par with international standards here. The runway length should be extended to 12, 000 feet for accommodating bigger aircrafts. Additional amenities should be made available for passengers mandatorily, D.R. Kodeeswaran, Secretary, ICCI, demanded.

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