Runway expansion at Thiruvananthapuram airport: State may take final call by December-end

Sources close to govt highlight possbility of CM Pinarayi’s meet after Nava Kerala Sadas
For representational purposes
For representational purposes

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  The state government is likely to take a final decision on the proposed expansion of the runway at Thiruvananthapuram airport by the end of December. Sources close to the government highlighted the possibility of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s meeting in this regard once he winds up the Nava Kerala Sadas.

However, the decision on the airport terminal expansion by acquiring 18 acres is still uncertain, and this development is unlikely to be implemented in the near future until a high-level intervention. 

A total of 16 acres of land is required to expand the Runway End Safety Area (RESA). It is a statutory requirement mandated by the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Failure to meet the requirement by September 2024 could lead to the cancellation of the airport’s licence. 
Nearly two months ago, the state government had given its nod to the Kozhikode International Terminal to acquire 12 acres of land for the runway expansion. 

“We have received a request letter from the Adani Group seeking the government’s support to acquire 16 acres of land for runway expansion. We are considering it, and the chief minister will take the final call. We expect a meeting in this regard after the Nava Kerala Sadas. However, we cannot divulge any information regarding the terminal expansion,” the official said. 

As far as the terminal expansion is concerned, the state government is of the opinion that the land acquisition needs to be done by the Adani Group. However, the Adani Group officials said they cannot acquire private land as per the land acquisition rules. 

“The state government’s support is essential to acquire land. As many as 168 families, who reside in the area, need to be displaced for the expansion. We cannot do that on our own,” a source close to the Adani Group said. 

Over the past year, Thiruvananthapuram Airport has seen a significant increase in air traffic. However, space constraints have hindered further development and the implementation of the airport’s master plan. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Limited submitted the expansion proposal to the state transport department last year in July. The acquisition of an additional 34 acres of land for expansion is under consideration by the chief minister, with 18 acres earmarked for terminal expansion and 16 acres near Brahmos Aerospace for runway expansion to accommodate more flights. 

The transport department has approved the land acquisition, however, it awaits the chief minister’s nod. The airport authorities are planning to develop the airport by acquiring 44,000 sqft of land close to T2 (international terminal) once the master plan for the airport is approved by AERA (Airport Economic Regulatory Authority). Once the additional space is built, the current domestic terminal near Shankhumukham will be demolished to make room for an improved one. Domestic services will be provided from the current international terminal.

Digiyatra implementation 

The Centre’s DigiYatra facility (second phase) is likely to be implemented at the Thiruvananthapuram airport from January 1. Since its launch on December 1, 2022, at New Delhi, Varanasi and Bengaluru, DigiYatra has been implemented at four more airports - Vijayawada, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Later, it was put into force in six more airports, including Kochi

DigiYatra is a mobile application-based facility conceived to achieve contactless and seamless processing of passengers at airports based on facial recognition technology. It helps travellers pass through various checkpoints at airports through paperless and contactless processing using facial features to validate their identity

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