As part of clearing the way for flight operations to commence at the Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL), the fourth in the south Indian state of Kerala, the national air carrier, Air India took off its flight from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport at 9.45 AM and successfully landed at the new tarmac at 11.38 AM. Along with the trial flight, other facilities at the new airport including aero bridge were also inspected thoroughly. The new airport, which has come up on 2,300 acres of land, with an integrated 95,000 square metre terminal building which is the eighth largest in the country, with an investment of Rs.2,292 crore, when the flight operation resumes, it is likely to serve in excess of a million passengers every year. What is more, as per the calculations of the authorities, the number of flyers using KIAL will see a five-fold jump by 2025.
There are many unique features in this new airport. For instance, KIAL has a runway suitable for Code E aircraft such as the Boeing B-777 and Airbus A-330. Furthermore, the service will be extender in future for the operation of Code F aircraft such as A-380.
As the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport caters to three neighbouring districts, the Kochi International Airport located at Nedumbassery also caters to three districts in and around it including Palakkad, which is also close to Coimbatore Airport. The Kozhikode International Airport, located on the fringes of Malapuram district, this airport also serves three districts, whereas, the newest airport will serve the people from Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Kasarkode, in addition to tourist destinations of Coorg and Mysore in the neighbouring Karnataka state. Those passengers hailing from Mangalore working in the Middle East, if they find difficulty in getting tickets during the peak season, they might as well opt for KIAL as the proximity is pretty close. The KIAL has LEED gold rating for its efforts to conserve energy and environment conservation through solar power system. Currently, a seven mega watt plant has been set up. Going forward, the capacity would be ramp up to ten mega watt.
As far as the domestic air carriers are concerned, the private flight operators who have bagged the bids under the UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme include IndiGo and SpiceJet, who will operate from Kannur Airport to various destinations such as Bangalore, Chennai, Goa, Delhi, Bubballi, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Solapur and Hindon in Ghaziabad.