Thursday, July 06, 2023

New airport en route while existing airports struggle for existence in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Even as a fifth international airport is being developed in Kerala, the fourth one commissioned five years back is struggling for existence and the additional land requirements of two other airports for meeting the mandatory safety parameters are pending for years.

The Kerala government recently got the centre's nod for developing a greenfield airport close to Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. The proposed airport, which is around 45 kilometres from the Ayyappa shrine, is targeting not just the devotees but the large NRI population of the region as well as tourist and cargo potential.

But the bleak fate of the Kannur international airport is again triggering discussions on whether a

state like Kerala needs a fifth international airport while the neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu is

having only four international airports.

Both the Kannur airport and the upcoming Sabarimala airport are being developed in publicprivate-partnership model on the lines of the Kochi international airport.

The Kannur airport commissioned in 2018 is now struggling to meet the expenses as most flights

stopped operations mainly due to poor load factors. Now Air India Express and Indigo are only

operating from the airport.

A major setback for Kannur airport was the centre's policy not to give permission for foreign

carriers to operate from the airport.

Special officer of the Sabarimala airport project V Thulasidas told DH that a similar issue was being

anticipated in Sabarimala airport also and hence the investments at the airport would be also

made accordingly only.

05/07/2023 Arjun Raghunath/Deccan Herald

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