Kannur airport nod in view of Keralites’ contribution: Patel

December 17th, 2010 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Kannur (Kerala), Dec 17 (IANS) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel Friday said the central government sanctioned the Kannur airport despite some legal issues as non-resident Keralites contribute significantly to India’s overall growth with their remittances.He was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the airport.

“People from Kerala make a group which contributes to the overall growth of the economy of the country with their remittances. So with this in mind and despite the Mangalore and Kozhikode airports near to this one, the centre decided to waive all such issues and give the sanction for this airport,” said Patel.

The proposed airport will come as a boon to the large number of non-resident Keralites from Kannur and Kasargode who now have to travel to either Kozhikode or Mangalore. Tourists headed to Coorg also can use this airport.

According to a study, close to 1.5 million passengers would use this airport and it would handle 86,000 tonnes of cargo a year.

A new company, Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL), has already been registered and the Rs.1,200 crore airport would be built under a public-private initiative over an area of 2,000 acres at Mattanur near here.

Former civil aviation secretary V. Thulasidas has been appointed managing director of KIAL.

“This airport is being planned taking into account all future developments because we can’t build airports often. In a decade’s time, India would be one of the leading countries where aviation would play a key role. Today just two to three percent of people travel on aeroplanes,” said Patel.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan assured the people that control of the airport would never go into the hands of a few individuals.

Kannur airport was first proposed when E.K. Nayanar was chief minister (1996-2001). He wanted an airport for his hometown. Since then, every chief minister has taken up the issue.

The international airport nearest to the proposed one is at Kozhikode, some 80 km away by air. Kerala has three international airports - at Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvanananthapuram.

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