AAI seeks land for runway expansion at Puducherry

PUDUCHERRY: The Airports Authority of India, Puducherry, has submitted a proposal to the territorial administration to acquire around 200 acres of land in Tamil Nadu for expanding the runway by another 500 to 600 metres.

The report was submitted to the Tourism Department three weeks ago, detailing the land required for expanding the runway from the existing 1,502m to 2,000m to operate wide-bodied aircraft, reports The Hindu.

The runway ends near the border of Tamil Nadu and any expansion would need cooperation from that State. The Airports Authority of India would bear the acquisition cost, a senior government official told The Hindu.

The last expansion of the runway from 1,222 metres to its present size was done in 2007 after the territorial administration handed over 20 hectares of land to AAI.

Sources in the airport and AAI said they were not very optimistic about the proposal to expand the runway by 500 metres to 600 metres because of the huge cost involved in the work taking into account the topography on Tamil Nadu side.

The land belonging to Tamil Nadu towards right side of the airport terminal was a valley and filling the gorge would need a huge investment, said an AAI official.

A section of the employees in the airport wanted the territorial administration to take more steps to bring more smaller aircraft similar to the one operated by SpiceJet in the Puducherry-Hyderabad sector.

The low-cost private player resumed operations to Hyderabad last month by putting one of its 78-seater Bombardier aircraft into service.

AAI officials in the airport and ground staff of the private player stationed here are enthused about the prospects after seeing the patronage the sector received since the first flight took off from the airport on August 16.


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