Kannur Finds a Place on The Aviation Map of India with the Inauguration of Kannur International Airport
When the Boeing 737 flight of Air India Express took off for Abu Dhabi from Kannur International Airport on December 9, it was a dream-come-true moment for the people of Malabar who have been, for years, dependent on Calicut International Airport to travel abroad or to other domestic destinations.
Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief Minister jointly flagged off the first flight from the airport, making Kerala the only State in the country having four International Airports. The duo also inaugurated the terminal building by lighting the traditional lamp in the presence of thousands of people who came to watch the milestone event.
E P Jayarajan, Kerala Minister for Industries and Commerce, who is also the legislator representing Mattannur Assembly constituency in which the airport is located, presided over the inaugural ceremony. Delivering the inaugural address, the Chief Minister congratulated the people of Kannur for having extended wholehearted support in completing the project. “A big salute to the people who stood with the government in implementing developmental initiatives,” he said.
“Kannur International Airport will be a boon for the people residing along the Mysore-Koyilandy stretch. Roads connecting the airport with these places will be developed soon. The government will provide reasonable compensation to the people whose land has been acquired for development purposes,” he said and added that further development would not be possible in the absence of good road connectivity.
The Chief Minister expressed hope that the Central Government would allow the State to take up the operations of Kannur International Airport and added that the State is also willing to take up the operations of Calicut International Airport at Karipur. The Chief Minister said this while alluding to the recent decision of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to privatise Trivandrum International Airport.
Congratulating the Kerala Government for its consistent effort to set up the airport, Suresh Prabhu said that Kannur Airport has established an ideal model for development.“The airport has become a gateway to development. It is an example of how the State and the Centre can work in unison to achieve development. It is a laudable fact that the construction of the airport was completed keeping in mind the avenues for its future expansion,” the Union Civil Aviation Minister said.
The World Bank estimates that non-resident Indians would contribute $80 billion to the country’s economy. “The lion’s share of that contribution comes from the people of Kerala working abroad. Hence, it is only fair to take steps to make their home-bound journey hassle-free,” the Minister added.
“There are several tourist destinations in Karnataka and Kerala that are easily accessible from the airport. Commissioning of KIAL will give a fresh impetus to the tourism activities in areas like Coorg, Wayanad and Kozhikode. Hence, we will make all possible efforts to start more services,” said V Thulasidas IAS (Retd.), MD, KIAL.
Procedures to acquire land for the airport began in 2008. So far the State Government has acquired 2300 acres of land for KIAL. Although the estimated expenditure for the airport was pegged at Rs. 1820 crore, it overshot by Rs. 500 crore as on December 9, 2018, according to Thulasidas. Extension of runway and construction of a cargo complex are the other projects in the pipeline, he said.
State Ministers E Chandrasekharan, Ramachandran Kadannappally, K K Shailaja, A K Saseendran and K Krishnankutty, and Union Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey IAS were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.