CHENNAI: Regional airports in the State are to be expanded by acquiring lands to cater to wide-bodied aircraft, according to Airports Authority of India Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra.
He said plans are on to acquire 300 acres for Coimbatore, 450 acres for Tiruchy airport and 400 to 600 acres for Madurai airport for the expansion plans.
The main plan to acquire more land is to ensure wide-bodied aircraft can land in these airports. “We are planning to operate Boeing B-747 and B-777, Airbus A-330 and other wide-bodied aircraft under Code E in these airports,” Mohapatra said.
He said AAI had briefed the Chief Minister for the acquisition of 300 acres for Coimbatore airport as the city was growing and the airport had a huge demand. He said the government was looking into the proposal. The land was for runway expansion.
It is learnt that around 627.89 acre of land was earmarked for airport expansion, of which 461.90 acre is owned by private land owners and 134.33 acre by the defence department.
Meanwhile, Tiruchy airport has a passenger traffic of around 12 million and is considered to be the fastest growing airport among tier-two cities in the country. Tiruchy airport is constructing a new terminal building and is also in the process of acquiring land for runway expansion.
Thoothukudi airport, which was catering to only Avion de Transport Regional (ATR) aircraft, a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner, may soon be upgraded to handle Airbus A320 aircraft, which is a narrow body commercial passenger twin engine jet-liner, as plans are to acquire around 200 acres.