Kerala's fourth international airport, at Kannur, that is expected to serve more than 1.5 million passengers annually, is set to begin trial flight operations in January and become fully operational by September 2018.
With the opening of Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL), Kerala will be the only state in the country to have four international airports with the others at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.
The Rs 1,892 crore-airport, located at Mattanur, over 2,000 acres, will be the fastest completed airport in the country, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office said.
The airport has constructed a runway suitable for operating Code E aircraft, like Boeing B-777 and Airbus A-330. It will be extended later for operation of Code F aircraft, like Airbus A-380.
While the Kerala government has 35% stake in KIAL, 25% is by public sector undertakings, 10% is with the Airports Authority of India and the remaining 30% with cooperatives, banks and individual shareholders.
The first trial operation took place in February 2016 when an Indian Air Force aircraft landed for the first time on the airport and was received by then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Once completed, the apron of the airport will have parking bays for 14 Code E aircraft or 20 Code C aircraft.
The airport will be able to handle 2,000 passengers at a time. KIAL is expected to change the face of north Kerala in areas like tourism and business activities, especially handloom, textiles and floriculture, the Chief Minister's Office said.
Standing to gain through this new airport would be popular tourist destinations in the vicinity such as Coorg and Mysore in Karnataka, besides the hilly districts of Kerala like Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod.
Starting off with a runway of 3,050 metres, the airport -- in another 18 months, after it opens -- will see its runway length increase to 3,400 metres, eventually touching 4,000 metres, making it one of the four biggest airports in the country.