VJ Kurian steps down from CIAL after 5-year post-retirement tenure

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on June 09, 2021

VJ Kurian

Cochin International Airport has set a record in performance and profitability

VJ Kurian, who was instrumental in building the country’s first airport under public-private partnership mode, has stepped down from the post of Managing Director of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) on completion of his five-year post- retirement tenure.

Kurian, an IAS officer of the 1983 batch, was at the helm of affairs of the airport at various times for 19 of the 27 years of the airport’s existence. The idea of an airport with public participation was mooted by him in the 1990s and a company for the purpose was floated in 1994. The airport was commissioned as a PPP venture in 1999 and has set a record of its own in terms of performance and profitability.

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S Suhas, District collector, Ernakulam, will hold the full additional charge of the post till further orders.

Global recognition

Kurian’s contributions to the State have been widely acclaimed internationally — as a of the PPP model in infrastructure development, as a task master in completing many projects, like seaport-airport road, as a green champion for making the Cochin Airport first in the world to be fully powered by solar energy and as an officer who implemented impeccable rehabilitation packages for the evicted.

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He was given a five-year stint in 2016 by the LDF Government on his superannuation from the post of the Additional Chief Secretary. Over the last five years, CIAL has invested ₹2,016 crore for infrastructure development, which included the operationalisation of Terminal 3, runway resurfacing, renovation of Terminal 1, implementation of extensive flood mitigation project and the capacity enhancement of solar plants from 14.4 MWp to 40 MWp.

His innovative idea of operating an airport fully on solar energy won for CIAL, in 2018, the prestigious ‘Champions of the Earth Award’ instituted by the United Nations.

The airport employs around 12,000 people directly and 25,000 indirectly. It has 19,000 shareholders and the company has been paying dividend since 2003-04. The total dividend paid touched 282 per cent in 2020-21. CIAL handles around 1 crore passengers yearly.

Published on June 09, 2021

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