Government clearances hold up opening of renovated Chennai airport

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on April 28, 2012

chennai airport

Lack of clarity on X-ray machines for baggage checks has been another reason for the delay

A delay of about 18 months in getting the Government nod for importing an aerobridge from a neighbouring country is one reason why the opening of the modernised Chennai airport has been delayed.

Official sources told Business Line that going by Government procedures, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) decided to source the aerobridge from the lowest bidder, which happened to be a company from a neighbouring country. It is said to have taken close to 18 months for getting the Government's nod to import the aerobridge.

The modernised airport building at Chennai is now expected to become operational in June instead of April as had been planned earlier.

Another reason for the project getting delayed is that there was no clarity from security agencies on what kind of baggage X-ray machines should be installed at the airport.

According to AAI's latest plan, the old international airport building would be shut down for some time after the new building becomes operational. Officials said that the decision has been taken due to shortage of customs and immigration staff.

Second Airport

Meanwhile, a senior airport authority official said that the Tamil Nadu Government and the Authority were likely to sign a joint venture agreement soon for an airport at Sriperumbudur. The proposed airport will be the city's second such facility.

The joint venture for the new greenfield airport will have AAI holding 51 per cent equity while the state Government will hold the rest. The whole project is estimated to cost Rs 7,000 crore, of which the Authority may contribute Rs 4,000 crore.

“Once land is acquired by the State Government and handed over to the airport authority, civil work will start. The Authority will run the airport for 7-8 years, then it will be brought under public private partnership (PPP). It is proposed that the State Government and the authority will divest their holding to 26 per cent,” the official added.

The new airport will operate simultaneously with the existing airport. Airlines will have the freedom to choose the airport. The proposed airport will be around 20 kilometres away from the existing one. A special link road is being planned to connect the two airports. The new airport is likely to be operational by 2015, if land acquisition is completed this year.

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Published on April 28, 2012
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