KOCHI: The Calicut International airport at Karipur will not be an embarkation point for Haj pilgrims from Kerala and Lakshadweep this time also as the airport is not suitable to operate wide-bodied aircraft.
Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said this in a letter to Congress MP Mullappally Ramachandran.
Sinha said the Airport Authority of India has projected additional land requirement of 248.3 acres to the state government for runway extension, construction of parallel taxi track and other upgradation work at Calicut Airport so as to make it suitable for operations of wide-bodied aircraft.
"The response in this regard is still awaited from the state government," Sinha said in the letter to Ramachandran in response to the matter of Calicut Airport being a Haj embarkation point raised by him in Lok Sabha during the budget session of parliament.
The minister said a joint inspection was carried out by DGCA and AAI in January this year to assess the possibility of wide-bodied (Code-E) aircraft operations at Calicut Airport wherein it was found that the runway is not suitable for wide-bodied aircraft operations.
"Existing runway length of 2850 metres at Calicut Airport is inadequate for most of the Code-E Aircraft operations," Sinha said.
He said "as regards Haj embarkation point at Calicut, I would like to inform you that Haj Committee of India (HCoI) has decided to maintain status quo in respect on number of embarkation points for Haj 2017 as for Haj 2016."
"The decision was in view of the fact that Calicut Airport was not suitable to operate wide body aircraft," Sinha said in the letter, a copy of which was released by the MP to the media today.