Kannur: The Kannur International Airport, the second airport developed in public-private partnership (PPP) model in Kerala, will be inaugurated jointly by Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, and Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, by lighting the lamp on December 9. The inauguration will be followed by flag off of the first flight, operated by Air India Express from the Airport. “More airlines are expected to start services to and from Kannur in January. GoAir, Indigo, and SpiceJet are awaiting final clearance from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). If clearance is received, GoAir is likely to operate its first service on December 9 itself. IndiGo will start services by the middle of January 2019,” said V Thulasidas, Managing Director, Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL), addressing a press conference. He added that some foreign airlines have already submitted proposals to the DGCA for beginning services connecting Kannur. “KIAL and the state government are taking the best efforts to get permission for foreign airlines. We expect that 10-13 flights will soon start services from Kannur,” he said. Go Air will operate flights to Abu Dhabi, Dammam and Muscat initially from Kannur and will soon add Doha and Kuwait to its route. Air India Express will add Muscat to its route as per the availability of the aircraft. GoAir will operate on domestic routes such as Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Indigo will have services to Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Hyderabad, Hubli and Thiruvananthapuram. The airlines will release details of their schedules as soon as they get clearance from the DGCA. The passengers of the first flight will be accorded a warm welcome at the airport. KIAL will present them with souvenirs. Thulasidas said that KIAL is aiming to develop the Kannur International Airport as one of the best airports in the country. All the modern facilities will be available in the airport for the convenience of the passengers as well as the airlines. The airport will have 24 check-in counters initially, which can be increased up to 48 as per requirement. The airport is provided with six passenger boarding bridges. The length of the runway, which is at present 3050 meters, will be soon increased to 4000 meters. Though the airport was developed with a facility to handle 2000 passengers, the present facility allows handling of more than the envisaged capacity. The Managing Director has made it clear that all the passenger amenities offered at the airport such as food and beverage stalls, shopping outlets and the duty-free shop would not be fully functional on the opening day. The passenger amenities will be augmented as per the increase in the number of passengers. KIAL will join hands with a private agency to set up and operate the duty-free shop at the airport. Expression of Interests for the same has been invited and an agency will be finalized soon. The customs officials will assume charge at the airport on December 1. Assistant commissioners and other officers for Kannur airport have already been appointed. Referring to the viability of the airport, Thulasidas said the airport company is not expecting profit in the initial years of operation. “There are 6700 shareholders including petroleum companies, banks and individuals. The estimated yearly expenditure is Rs 200- 250 crores. We cannot expect the company to make the profit in the initial years. Therefore, the airport company will tap maximum income from non- aviation sources,” said, Thulasidas, adding that services under UDAN project, which are not profitable for the airport, will be operated from Kannur with certain changes in the conditions. He stated that the airport company has recruited all candidates in the evictee category and appointed them on different posts with the airport company on the basis of their educational qualifications. Further, the airport company has ensured that all the remaining such candidates will be recruited by the by Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL), one of the two ground handling agencies. KIAL has entered an understanding with AIATSL to recruit future evictees, whose land is being acquired for a runway extension.