CHENNAI: Chennai airport is likely to reach its saturation level in the next five years and the proposed Greenfield airport in Sriperumbudur needs to be put into operation by 2020-21, according to a report prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The report ‘Comprehensive Integrated Masterplan for Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor’ prepared by JICA states that the additional airport in Chennai is necessary as the peak capacity of 23 million passengers of Chennai airport is expected to fall short of the rising demand in 2020-21.
The report states that considering the time period of 2-3 years for land acquisition and development period of 3-4 years, the efforts for creation of this airport needs to begin immediately.
Chennai Airport director Deepak Shastri agreed with the recommendation put forth by the study stating that there is a need to start looking for secondary airport immediately as the current airport is likely to reach its saturation level by 2025. “By 2025, the runway capacity would reach saturation level and if we plan now, then by the end of next 10 years, we could have a secondary airport,” he said.
JICA is pushing for a new airport as the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor is expected to increase manufacturing output significantly leading to increased urbanisation, migration of skilled workforce and business travel. It has predicted that the total air passenger traffic in Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor airports is expected to be 118 million in the Business As Usual scenario.
It is learnt that the prevailing regulations of Ministry of Civil Aviation prohibits development of additional Greenfield airports within a region of 150 km from the existing airport. This could be a stumbling block as Sriperumbudur is only 40 km away. However, JICA’s report says that Ministry regulations would not strictly apply in cases where an existing airport’s capacity faces saturation triggering the need for an alternative airport.