Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu will formally inaugurate the airport, built under a public-private partnership (PPP) and Build-Own-Operate (BOO) basis.

The airport will give a tremendous boost to the development of the Malabar region with the tourism industry expected to make a quantum jump. Kannur incidentally accounts for over 80 per cent of the mangroves in the state. KIA is the fourth international airport and second greenfield airport in the state.

Kannur is wearing a festive look in preparation for the historic event. Not only Malayalis but also people from the neighbouring areas, especially Kasargod, who have to depend on Mangalore airport at present, are also eagerly awaiting the realization of a long-standing dream.

A commercial jetliner landed at the KIA on September 20, 2018 for the first time as part of the flight trials required under the new airport’s approval process. The new greenfield airport in South India is set to handle 4.67 million passengers, 39,638 aircraft movements and 60,758 tonnes of cargo by 2036.

The Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) company was formed by the Government of Kerala to build and operate the new airport. While private individuals and institutions hold 49% share in the company, the government has a 26% share; with state-owned public sector organisations holding 23%.

A firm step towards making Kannur airport a reality was taken in January 2008 when the Union Cabinet gave its green signal. The clearance of the Ministry of Environment and Forest came in July 2013. The new airport will cover about 2,000 acres of land. Around 1,200 acres of land have already been acquired for the project.

Phase one of the construction involved the construction of a 3,050 m-long runway, taxiways, apron, access roads, administrative and technical blocks, and other airside construction works. It will also include the installation and commissioning of the airfield ground lighting systems, navigation systems, and bird hazard reduction systems. The apron will feature 14 parking stands.

A car park covering an area of 22,000sqm, a corridor connecting the passenger terminal building to the car parking area, a sewage treatment system, a hydro-pneumatic system, electrical substations, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, firefighting systems, flight information display systems and rainwater harvesting systems are the other facilities. The airport will be equipped with airport access control systems, integrated airport management systems, surveillance cameras and tetra wireless systems.

The airport is ideally located as it is easily accessible from the Kannur to Mattannur to Mysore road and other highways, including NH-17, SH-30, and SH-36. A new railway station has been proposed to be built at the airport.

The inauguration of the Kannur airport will be a feather in the cap of the Left Democratic Front government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. It will erase the erroneous impression being assiduously created by vested interests that the LDF government is development-hostile. (IPA Service)