MALAPPURAM: Development dreams of Calicut International Airport have taken an active turn with airline companies expressing their interest in resuming more GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) services.
Companies like Saudi Airlines, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways are set to resume GCC services using their wide-body aircraft, provided the airport is found fit for the same. Services of wide-body aircraft to and from the airport were suspended from May 1,2015 for re-carpeting the runway.
To restart them, a meeting of representatives of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and of flight companies as well as top officers of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in November last year prepared a 71-page report and submitted it to the AAI suggesting the airport was fit to resume services of wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 777-200. The airport is now awaiting sanction of the DGCA. Resuming the services of the wide-body Boeing 777-200 aircraft at the Calicut airport will increase the number of flights, which in turn will lead to an increase in seats, resulting in more revenue for the airport. The services will also minimise the inconvenience expatriates face. Restoration of Jeddah-bound aircraft will bring back the Haj embarkation point tag to Karippur. Qatar Airways and Gulf Air will start more services to GCC countries.
To resume services of wide-body aircraft, the Calicut airport authorities developed the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) at the airport and increased its length from 90 m to 240 m. Besides, lighting arrangements have also been made at the end of the runway. The development work were done at a cost of Rs 10 crore.
If things pan out, Saudi Airlines will resume its service at the airport within two months post DGCA sanction, said K Sreenivasa Rao, director, Calicut airport.