The proposed greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur near Chennai will now have four runways, instead of the two planned earlier.

The decision will see the number of passengers and aircraft being handled by the new airport increase manifold.

Official sources told Business Line that the master plan for the airport was being changed to accommodate four runways. “Land is already available for the proposed airport. So, it has been decided to make an airport which will take care of future growth needs of the sector,” the sources said.

The Airports Authority of India will shortly submit the project report to the State Government. Sources indicated that despite the on-going modernisation of the existing Chennai airport, a new airport will be required.

After Mumbai, Goa

The airport, which is expected to become functional in the next few years, will see Chennai join select cities such as Mumbai and Goa which will have two airports.

However, State Government officials say that they are not aware of any such proposal by the AAI to increase the number of runways.

AAI's project report will make out a case for a second airport for the city, given the growth in air traffic. It will also outline the cost of constructing the airport. With elections having been announced, a decision on going ahead with work on the new airport will have to be taken only by the new Government.

Opposition charge

A few months ago, when the DMK Government announced its intention to acquire land for the airport at Sriperumbudur, the Opposition parties, including the AIADMK, had opposed the move contending that agricultural land was being acquired for the project.

The new government in the State will also have to decide how it wants the greenfield airport to be constructed — whether by the AAI itself or by involving the private sector.

(This article was published on March 20, 2011)
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