CHENNAI: Vellore Airport, selected under the second phase regional connectivity scheme (RCS) of UDAN is likely to have required infrastructure for operations by June 2019, according to S Sreekumar, regional executive director, southern region, Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Sreekumar told Express that the required infrastructure will be ready by June next year after which clearances and licences will be required for operation.
Currently, the runway work is being undertaken and we expect it to be completed by March 2019, he said. Meanwhile, the proposed terminal for Vellore airport is likely to come up in government land. “We will not be going in for acquisition,” he said.
The State government is likely to allocate the land, and by the month end, work on building the terminal will be awarded.
“The terminal building will take nearly six months to complete once work is awarded,” he said. Besides Vellore, Thanjavur was identified in Tamil Nadu under phase II of UDAN for the operation of domestic flights with ATR aircraft. Work will start in Thanjavur after the exchange of land between AAI and Indian Air Force that has been using the airstrip.
Meanwhile, Sreekumar also clarified that bids for new smart Air Traffic Service Complex (ATC) in Chennai airport, to monitor flight movements at Vellore, Salem, Puducherry and the new airports coming under regional connectivity scheme, will start in next six months.
Interestingly, many airports under RCS do not have ATC tower. Construction of new ATC tower infrastructure leads to increase in cost, defeating the purpose of RCS.