KARAIKAL: The Karaikal Airport Private Limited project is now lying dormant for more than three years owing to severe fund crunch.
The Union government had rendered the in-principle approval for the Karaikal private airport limited on February, 2011. Likewise other formalities such as the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Puducherry government and clearance from Airport Authority of India (AAI) except for the environmental clearances were obtained by the Coimbatore-based Super Airport Infrastructure company.
Though Super Airport Infrastructure asserted that the airport construction works at Karaikal would commence by the first quarter of 2014, even after half the calendar years have passed, not even a rubble has moved in the vast 350 acres of land acquired towards the construction of Karaikal Greenfield Airport at Nedungadu commune of Karaikal enclave.
Severe fund crunch for raising a minimum of Rs 100 crores to commence the construction works including a shorter runway of 1.2 kilometre stretch was noted as the reason and options for the private firm to generate fund through private investors from Puducherry, TN and even from France has failed to yield positive results so far. Karaikal airport private limited was vowed to be the first of its kind airport to handle the entire operations except for security arrangements which would be manned by the UT government, and for the air traffic control tower which would be operated by AAI.
Speaking to Express, J V Chowdhury said, “Availability of sufficient funds is thesole reason for the delay but we are not giving up on this airport project. One option is that Airport Authority of India can establish the Karaikal Greenfield airport project.” However, the dream of seeing an aircraft to take off and land at Karaikal is still a far fetched one.
2.6 km-long runway for int’l FLIGHTS
Karaikal: With the help of a shorter 1.2 km stretch runway, aircraft such as ATR and Q400 with minimum seating capacity of 70-75 passengers can be operated to cover the domestic destinations including Chennai, Coimbatore and Bangalore cities. Through 2.6 km stretch runway, international carriers including Boeing and Airbus can land at the Karaikal private airport, and thereby making it easier to operate international destinations including Middle East and Southeast Asian countries.