CHENNAI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved three major infrastructure projects - new terminal buildings at the Guwahati, Chennai and Lucknow airports - at an estimated cost of over Rs 5,000 crore. The Minister of Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, took to his Twitter account late on Tuesday night to announce construction of a new terminal building at the airport in Chennai at a cost of Rs 2467 crore.
"The Chennai airport long needed a significant capacity addition," he said in a tweet. "The new terminal building approved today will have a capacity of 35 million passengers per annum, and take care of growth requirements till 2027...Under the visionary leadership of Narendra Modi Ji, we remain committed to augmenting the airport capacity and facilities to match the 20% passenger growth rate and for constantly improving your air-travel experience."
Indian airports handled 265 million domestic passengers in 2016 and the number will cross 300 million this year, according to the Centre for Aviation (CAPA). The country's entire airport network is only capable of handling 317 million passengers, it said. The centre also predicted that India would overtake Britain as the world's third largest market by 2025 and would have 478 million fliers by 2036.
Express reported on April 26 that 150 acres were required for airport expansion and this was one of the major concerns of the people of surrounding villages, who attended the environmental public hearing last week. The hearing was held in connection with the second phase of airport modernisation.
Though the second phase is to be done in-house, the focus of the hearing was on the airport's requirement of 150 acres for installing safety and approach lights as people from surrounding villages, which include Pozhichalur and Cowl Bazaar, expressed fears of losing their property.
Airport Director G Chandramouli, who was present at the public hearing, said the airport initially sought 200 acres and later restricted it to 150 acres. Of this area, 40 acres are defence land belonging to the Officers Training Academy."We require 110 acres and the State government is acquiring the land," he said at the hearing.
The Collector said they would not be taking over any land in Pozhichalur for airport expansion. He said 50 acres were being acquired from Manapakkam, 30 acres from Kolapakkam and 2.98 acres from Cowl Bazaar.
Further, Express reported on April 25 that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had conducted a study to find out the feasibility of privatising the Chennai airport. A top AAI official had told Express that the feasibility study was conducted six months ago, but he was unaware whether a decision to privatise the airport or not had been taken."The feasibility study was conducted for airports that have a passenger movement of more than 15 lakh, but we have got nothing in black and white," he said.