AAI gives facelift to smaller airports in TN

Chennai, March 21 | Updated: Mar 22 2006, 06:57am hrs
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is making substantial investments for the upgradation and expansion of the smaller airports in Tamil Nadu. It is planning to set up an aircraft maintenance workshop in the south. Pondicherry airport is shortlisted for that. AAI is also encouraging establishment of flying schools in airports like Salem, Trichy and Tuticorin.

Expansion works are under way in Madurai, Tuticorin, Trichy and Pondicherry airports, according to K Ramalaingam, regional executive director of AAI.

He said Rs 9.73 crore was being spent for the expansion of runway, setting up of firestation, parking bay and isolation bay in Madurai airport. A new terminal building, with capability to handle international flights, was also being built at an estimated investment of Rs 11 crore.

In Trichy, a new terminal was being built at a cost of Rs 75 crore. Rs 9.14 crore expansion works are being carried out on the runway and isolation bay.

The frequency of flights from Madurai was being raised to four daily from two now. Air Deccan and Paramount Airlines are planning to operate flights from April 1. Air Deccan would operate a flight from Tuticorin to Bangalore via Madurai.

The Pondicherry government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Jagson Airways to operate flights form Pondicherry to Chennai.

Mr Ramalingam was addressing a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Tamil Nadu, to release a study on the air traffic potential for Madurai.

He said Salem airport also was ready for operating regular flights. No offers have come so far from the aviation companies.

The defence air terminal at Uchipuli in Ramanthapuram district is also being considered for civil aviation to cater to the needs of pilgrims and tourists from, Madurai and Tuticorin, he said.