Kannur international airport almost at the take-off stage with 95% of the work completed, seven years since its foundation was laid. The Greenfield airport near Mattannur will see a soft launch in January 2018 and will be officially launched in September 2018.
Kannur International Airport Ltd. (KIAL) Managing Director P Bala Kiran told media persons that they had asked the Airports Authority of India (AAI) permission to conduct a trial flight in January next year. He added that the project needs to obtain only two more clearances: the Director General of Civil Aviationâ€™s aerodrome license and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Securityâ€™s security clearance.
Once it is running, Kannur International Airport will be the fourth largest airport India in terms of the runway length. The 3,050-metre-long runway is suitable for Code E aircraft and it would be extended further at a later stage to 4,000 metres to make it suitable for Code F aircraft operation.
This runway will put the Greenfield airport in the same league is other premier airports in India like Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (4,430 metres), Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad (4,260 metres), and Bengaluru International Airport (4,120 metres).
Code E and Code F have larger wingspans than the preceding Codes A, B, C, D aircrafts. This essentially means that the runway needs to be bigger for Code E and Code F aircrafts to operate.
The airport will also have around 634 CISF security personnel stationed in the 95,000 square metre passenger terminal building, which would be the eighth biggest in the country.
The state police will also contribute 145 personnel for managing the immigration wing. While, the recruitment of the full staff should be finished by December this year, the airport will begin allotting areas for the airlines from January 2018.
The airport will feature 48 check-in counters, 16 counters for emigration, immigration and customs each, three conveyer belts, 12 escalators, and 15 elevators. The airport will also have parking arrangements for up to 700 private cars, 200 taxis and 25 airport buses.
A 2,061-acre area was planned for the airport project. Of this 1,277.93 acres had been acquired.
By the end of 2018, an annual footfall of at least 1.5 million international passengers and over 0.15 million domestic passengers is expected.
The construction of the Greenfield airport was a few roadblocks on the way due to issues related to land acquisition. The KIAL officials had a tough task persuading the local residents to give up their land for construction of the airport.
To allay these concerns perhaps, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised in September this year that 41 of the 180 posts in various departments at the airport would be reserved families of those who had lost their houses due to land acquisition for the airport. Of these, 30 members from affected families have already been appointed.