The first trial passenger flight operations have begun at the brand-new Kannur International Airport on Thursday. The Air India Express Boeing 737 flight, which can carry 189 passengers, took off from Thiruvananthapuram airport at 9.45 AM and landed in Kannur at 11.38 AM. This is the first time that a passenger flight has landed at the new Kannur airport.
The District Collector of Kannur, Mir Mohammed Ali, shared a video of the trial flight landing at the Kannur International Airport this morning.
The flight also received a â€śwater saluteâ€ť after its successful landing.
Although it has been used previously for military rescue and relief operations during the recent floods, and witnessed the landing of an Indian Air Force aircraft in February 2016, the trial landing of a passenger flight was necessary for the aviation ministry to allow operations to begin here. The aero bridge, air traffic control station and other facilities for passengers have also been tested, and an expert team from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) completed a two-day long inspection of the airportâ€™s services on Wednesday evening.
The new Kannur International Airport is the fourth airport in Kerala, and spreads over 2300 acres of land. The 95,000 sq m terminal building is the eight largest in the country, and the runway is designed to suit Code E aircraft, like the Boeing B-777 and Airbus A-330. With a solar power system, the airport has received a LEED gold rating for energy and environment conservation. Built at a cost of Rs 2292 crore, the airport will serve more than 1 million passengers a year. This number is expected to increase five-fold by the year 2025.
The new airport is expected to be particularly useful to Keralites working in the Middle East, and ease access to tourist destinations like Coorg, Mysore, Kasargod, Wayanad, and of course Kannur. Domestic destinations connected by this airport include Delhi, Chennai, Goa, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Ghaziabad.
Domestic destinations will be serviced by a variety of domestic airline carriers, while the international sectors will be connected by Jet Airways, GoAir, Air India, Air India Express and Air Asia. The airport will reportedly operate over 20 flight operations daily.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is expected to furnish the new airport with a license by this month, and it is slated to be operational by the first week of November. With this new airport in Kannur, Kerala now has four international airports, the other three being located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.