Two Kerala international airports to be expanded

February 24th, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead, superseding earlier story)

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 24 (IANS) Kerala will expand two of its international airports - at Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode - and come up with a new one at Kannur with the state government identifying more land for the purpose. The state has three international airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and at Kochi.

Work on the first phase of Thiruvananthapuram airport on 27 acres would be ready this year. For the second phase, another 93 acres will be acquired, Law Minister M. Vijayakumar told reporters here Sunday.

“The state government will provide another 137 acres for development of Kozhikode airport. For the proposed Kannur airport, 2,200 acres would be acquired,” he said. The central government recently gave the go-ahead for a new airport at Kannur.

Once the Kannur airport is ready, Kerala will be the only state with four international airports. The airport at Kochi is also the first airport in India that was developed with private-public partnership in the late ’90s.

“For the Thiruvananthapuram airport, the centre has already sanctioned Rs.245 crore (Rs.2.45 billion or $61 million) for the first phase, and when we are ready with the master plan for the second phase, the centre would hand over another Rs.255 crore (Rs.2.55 billion). Incidentally, this is the last time that the centre would be extending financial support for the development of airports in the country,” the minister said.

“We have seen to it that if any of the airports in future go to the private sector, the value of the land given free would be converted as the equity of the state government. This has been done in a such way that the government would have a stake,” the minister said.

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