Saturday, December 01, 2018

Putting Kannur on the map: Here's all you need to know about 4th Int'l airport

With little more than a week to go for the Kannur International Airport (KIAL) to open, preparations are on in full swing. The 2300-acre greenfield airport, built from scratch on undeveloped land, will be opened to much pomp and splendour, and rightly so, for it is going to bring in several big changes to the district and the state.

On September 20, the first trial passenger flight landed at the Kannur International Airport. The Air India Express Boeing 737 flight, which took off from Thiruvananthapuram airport at 9.45 am, landed in Kannur at 11.38 am. The flight also received a “water salute” after its successful landing. As Kannur is set to open its first airport on December 9, here is a list of all things to know about the new facility:

a) The KIAL project was sanctioned by the State government in 1998. However, it took a decade for the approval. Finally, in 2008, the Central government approved the building of the airport. Stage one of building the airport began in February 2014.

b) KIAL is not the first commercial airstrip in the district. In 1935, Tata Airlines operated flights every week from Bombay to Thiruvananthapuram, which stopped at Goa and Cannanore or Kannur.

c) The airport has an interesting location as it is built close to the Kerala–Karnataka border, in a village named Matanoor. This is touted to boost tourism in both the states. The airport is just 91 kms or two-and-a-half hours away from Madikeri in Kodagu, creating a new market for commercial crops from Kodagu. Also, prior to this, the closest airport to Coorg was in Mysuru, 131 kms away.

d) The Kannur airport has a runway of 3,050 metres as of now. But very soon, this will be extended to 4,000 metres, making the airport one of the elite few in the country to have a runway that long. Currently, the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi (4,430m), Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad (4,260m) and Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru (4,120m) have 4,000 m-long runways.

e) The 2,292 crore-worth airport has state-of-the-art facilities, including the latest Instrument Landing System (ILS), which help flights land precisely. KIAL also boasts of six aerobridges, self check-in and self bag-drop facilities, in-line X-ray to avoid baggage X-ray screening, 24 check-in counters that can be extended to 48, 32 emigration counters and three baggage belts. The airport has a capacity of 2,000 people per hour.

f) The inaugural flight will be Air India Express to Abu Dhabi, which will be flagged off on December 9. However, several more carriers, such as Indigo GoAir and Spicejet, are waiting in line to get clearance, especially in the gulf sector.
30/11/18 News Minute

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