CHENNAI: Chennai is all set to go hip, with a new Greenfield world-class airport, and a Gurgaon like aero-city developed around it. All this in just five years, according to plans revealed by the Centre.
The Centre on Wednesday said it was working with the state government on firming up plans for a second airport in Chennai and creating urban development around it.
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told reporters that efforts were on to acquire 1,000 to 2,000 acres of land to develop a world-class airport from scratch, and make Chennai a global hub for aviation.
The minister said the aero-city would be developed on the lines of Gurgaon with globally-advanced facilities. He also said the new airport would be built within next five years as Chennai airport would have attained saturation by then.
What happens then to existing plans for expanding the present Arignar Anna International Terminal? Asked about this, the minister said work was progressing and bids for building new terminals as part of Phase II expansion of Chennai airport will be floated in January next year.
“From the date of bidding, it will take 24 to 36 months to complete the entire second phase of Chennai airport expansion,” he said.
Expansion work is likely to cost more than Rs 2,000 crore, and would include walkators (like an escalator on a flat surface) within and connecting terminals, like in several new airports where distances between gates are too long to walk.
The minister, who was in the city to inaugurate the opening of air services from Chennai to Mysuru, said the first phase of regional connectivity scheme has been a success with large players like Indigo, Jet Airways and Spicejet wanting to take part in the bids under the second phase.
“There are 400 airstrips in India and under the first phase, we are planning to open 100 of them. So we still have 300 more airstrips to be opened,” he said.
The minister also revealed that he was looking into suggestions of having more international flights to Coimbatore and Tiruchy and improved services to Madurai.
Trujet connects second rung cities
Hyderbad based low-cost airline Trujet began operations from Chennai to Mysuru under the regional connectivity scheme with more than 49 passengers boarding the flight from Chennai on Wednesday. “The inaugural price is Rs 1,000 while normal fare for booking of first 35 seats would be Rs 2,000. The maximum fare will be Rs 3,000,” said the managing director of Trujet V Mahesh.
“We will be starting operations from Salem under the regional connectivity scheme from November first week,” said Mahesh. Trujet will also be launching a service from Thoothkudi to Chennai on November, which does not come under the regional connectivity scheme.