CHENNAI: The Centre and the State are working together to firm up plans on setting up a second airport, a greenfield facility, and developing an aerocity 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 greenfield aerocity on the lines of the Gurgaon model. The new airport, he added, would be built within next five years as Chennai airport would attain saturation by then.
To a query whether the plans to expand the present airport would be hit by the proposal to go in for a greenfield airport, the minister said work was progressing in this regard and the bids for building new terminals as part of phase-II expansion of Chennai airport would 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.
The expansion work is likely to cost more than `2,000 crore along with a walkator in front of the terminal building and some airside work. The minister, who was here to inaugurate the opening of air services from Chennai to Mysuru, said the first phase of regional connectivity scheme has been a success with bigger 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 fisrt phase we are planning to open 100 of them,” he said.
The minister added that he was looking into suggestions of having more international flights to Coimbatore and Tiruchy, and better service to Madurai.
Meanwhile, Trujet started its operation from Chennai to Mysuru under the regional connectivity scheme with more than 49 passengers boarding the flight from Chennai. “The inaugural price is `1,000 while the normal fare for booking of first 35 seats would be 2,000. The maximum fare will be `3,000,” said its managing director V Mahesh.
“We will start operations from Salem under the regional connectivity scheme from November first week,” said Mahesh. In addition, Trujet will also launch service from Thoothkudi to Chennai on November. “It will be a non-regional connectivity scheme service,” he added.