Two former Chief Ministers who played a key role in the development of Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL) have not been invited to its opening on Sunday, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said on Friday.
Chennithala told the media that it was rather unfortunate that V.S. Achuthanandan (2006-11), whose government acquired land for the airport, and Oommen Chandy (2011-16), whose government completed 90 per cent of the work, have not been invited for the inauguration.
"To protest this high-handedness of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, we (leaders) will not be taking part in the inauguration. But we will not stop our political workers and others who support the Congress-led UDF to take part in the function," said Chennithala.
Vijayan, who hails from Kannur, has left nothing to chance to make the inauguration a grand spectacle. Around one lakh people are expected to take part in the event.
The first trial operation at the airport took place in February 2016 when an Indian Air Force aircraft landed and was received by then Chief Minister Chandy.
Although both are veteran Marxist leaders, Vijayan and Achuthanandan over the years have never had the best of relations.
The Rs 1,892-crore airport is located at Mattanur, 16 km from Kannur, and is spread over 2,000 acres.
With this, Kerala will be the only state in the country to have four international airports. The other three are at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.
The Kannur airport will have parking bays for 14 Code E aircraft or 20 Code C aircraft and will be able to handle 2,000 passengers at a time.
The KIAL is slated to serve more than 1.5 million international passengers annually.
The airport will start off with a runway of 3,050 metres. The runway length will increase to 3,400 metres, eventually touching 4,000 metres.