Tamil Nadu mulls dropping Sriperumbudur greenfield airport project

Government looking at other sites as original airfield will not be able to hold more passengers in few years, according to officials.
Image for representational purpose only.
Image for representational purpose only.

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government has nearly dropped the proposed Greenfield airport in Sriperumbudur from its radar, and is now identifying three to four more sites for the second airport.

Airport Authority of India chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra, flanked by Chennai Airport director G Chandramouli and Airport Authority of India Member (Planning) Sudhir Raheja, said that 2,000 acres of land is required for the airport.

The site will be identified after conducting an ‘obstacle survey’, he said.

Interestingly, sources told Express the land earmarked in Sriperumbudur has now been denotified.

A report — ‘Comprehensive Integrated Masterplan for Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor’ — prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) states that the additional airport in Chennai is necessary as passenger demand is expected to surpass capacity in 2020-21.

(L to R) Sudhir Raheja, Guruprasad Mohapatra and G Chandramouli during the press meet | Express
(L to R) Sudhir Raheja, Guruprasad Mohapatra and G Chandramouli during the press meet | Express

The peak capacity of 23 million passengers of Chennai airport is expected to fall short of the rising demand, triggering the need for an additional airport in the region. Raheja said that AAI will be conducting a discussion every two months on having an alternate site.

Mohapatra felt a secondary airport in a city like Chennai is necessary, as all big metro cities require two airports. Interestingly, the next round of discussions is likely to begin after August 15. “We’ll be holding a meeting every month after August to discuss the issue,” said Raheja.

Earlier, the government signed an MoU with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India under the Central government’s Udan scheme, which is aimed at improving regional air connectivity.

Hosur, Neyveli and Salem were selected under the first phase of the scheme, with the last of those cities ready to operate flights from September.

A feasibility study is being conducted for Neyveli airport, while in Hosur, bids have yet to start as there is an agreement with Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports that no other airport will be allowed to operate within a 150 km radius. “Hosur comes within 150 km radius, and as such no objection certificate is required from Bengaluru airport,” said Mohapatra.

Chandramouli said that the State government is allocating 200 acres for hangars, parallel taxiway, fuel farm and approach landing. He said Chennai airport is going in for a major expansion under the second phase and by 2020, it will be able to handle 30 million passengers, with 40 flights per hour from the airport.

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The New Indian Express