Kochi: The state government is ready to take over the Thiruvananthapuram airport and run its operations on the model of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Wednesday.
He was inaugurating the renovated domestic terminal (T-1) and also the enhanced solar power production capacity of the Kochi airport.
“The Central government has decided to privatise many airports in the county. The state has already conveyed its opposition against the move to the Centre. The state government is ready to take over the Thiruvananthapuram airport if the Centre goes ahead with its plan,” the chief minister said.
Recently the union cabinet approved a proposal to manage Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati and Mangaluru airports under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
“Even while acquiring the land for the Thiruvananthapuram airport, there were certain understandings between the Centre and the state over its operation. The state government is now managing the Kannur airport and the Kochi airport is functioning well. We’re ready to form SPV and take over the Thiruvananthapuram airport too,” he said.
The chief minister said the operational efficiency of CIAL prompted the government to entrust the Kovalom-Bakkel (Thiruvananathapuram-Kasargod) Inland Waterways project.
“CIAL has turned into one of the most efficiently run institutions in the state. The company provided 25 per cent dividend to nearly 19, 000 investors for the last financial year. The state government, a major investor with around Rs 100 crore, so far received Rs 230 crore as dividend. This year alone, the state got Rs 31 crore profit share from CIAL,” he said.
Managing Director V J Kurian delivered the introductory speech while Executive Director A M Shabeer presented the technical report and M A Yusuff Ali, Director, CIAL, welcomed the gathering. Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar presided over the function also attended by Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran. Other dignitaries who attended the function include K V Thomas MP, former MP P Rajeeve, Anwar Sadath MLA, Roji M John MLA and GCDA Chairman V Saleem, Mini Eldho, president, Nedumbassery Panchayat, Alphonsa Varghese, President, Sreemoolanagaram Panchayat, M.V.Reji, Member, Nedumbassery Panchayat, CIAL directors K.Roy Paul, N.V.George, Ramani A.K.
Terminal-1, which was earlier handling the international operations, was reconstructed as per global standards at a cost of Rs 240 crore to cater to the rise in footfalls of domestic travellers.
The terminal stands out from other airports in the country as the renovation works were carried out on the lines of the state’s traditional architectural style ‘Ettukettu’. However, special care is taken to provide most modern airport facilities to travelers.
While the domestic aviation market grew by 18 per cent, CIAL has been experiencing a growth of 24 per cent in this sector when it handled nearly five million passengers in 2017-18.
The renovated heritage terminal can handle 4000 passengers per hour (five times the earlier capacity) as the total terminal area has been increased to six lakh sqft from the earlier one lakh sqft. There are 56 check-in counters, including four with self bag drop facility. A total of 2600 cars can park in the parking yard of terminal-1.
The renovation work was completed in 18 months when the domestic operations were carried out from Terminal-2. The ‘International’ terminal-3, constructed at a cost of Rs 1100 crore, was opened to passengers last year.
The solar production capacity has been enhanced to 40 MWp. Solar panels have been installed on the roof of the car park at Terminal-1. The commissioning of the new carport for T-1 will make the airport the largest solar carport (5.1 MWp) in the world. CIAL is the winner of the UN’s Champion of Earth Award-2018.
Special project to prevent flooding in airport region: CM
Kochi: While making it clear that inundation of areas surrounding the Kochi airport during August floods had nothing to do with the airport construction, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said the government is all set to implement a project to prevent similar disasters in the region in future.
“The project is designed based on the studies jointly carried out by the Irrigation department and the Kitco. Dutch Engineering experts too were consulted before giving shape to the plan of action which the government will implement on a war-footing,” the chief minister said while inaugurating the renovated heritage terminal of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL).
“Presently, there is a diversion canal for Chengal Thodu towards the southern portion of the runway. We’ll construct a similar diversion canal in the northern portion of the runway too and link the same to Manjali Thodu via Nayathura. Also the width and depth of the existing canal will be increased. Bridges will be constructed in the northern side of Chengal Thodu at AP Varkey Road and Chettikodu Road which will ensure that the residents living in Turavunkara area won’t get stranded,” Vijayan said.
Also, there is plan to set up a regulator-cum-bridge at the start of the Chengal Thodu, he added.
Earlier, there were charges from certain quarters that the region got flooded due to construction of the airport.
“It’s not true. All low-lying areas in the district got inundated, and not just the airport region, after the water level in Periyar rose suddenly following intermittent rains. The whole of the state was affected by the floods,” the chief minister said.
First phase of inland waters by 2020: V J Kurian
The first phase of the Thiruvananathapuram-Kasargode Inland Waterway project will be completed by 2020, Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) Managing Director V J Kurian said on Wednesday.
“The project proposing to connect 11 districts and three airports will aid development of the state in a big way in future. We’ll give our full focus and energy for timely completion of the project I assure the chief minister that the first phase will be completed by 2020,” Kurian said while speaking at inauguration function of the renovated domestic terminal of CIAL.
The multi crore project is planned to be completed in three phases. A joint venture of the state government and the CIAL – the Kerala Waterways Infrastruture Ltd (KWIL), was earlier formed to implement the project.
The managing director thanked the successive state governments for their continues support that helped CIAL achieve amazing growth as an organization in the last 25 years. “Ours was the first airport in the country to be designed on the PPP model. The successful financial model later got to be known as the ‘CIAL model’ and is widely applied,” Kurian said.
The managing director observed that the growth of the airport has also resulted in the development of the region, especially Nedumbassery village. “The present staff strength of CIAL is 11,400 out of which over 4000 are residents of Nedumbassery, Kanjoor, Srimoolanagaram, Kalady and Angamaly. We’ve also tied up with the local self government implementing development projects in the region,” he said.
On the aviation industry, Kurian said the country has already become the third highest domestic airline market across the globe. “There were nearly 30 crore domestic travelers this year. The number of aircraft being operated by the airlines is set to increase to 1080 from the current strength of 550. We’ve foreseen the growth and hence carried out the terminal renovation,” he said.