With Kannur International Airport all set to go functional next month, a slew of plans is in the pipeline with regard to Calicut International Airport for it to stay afloat. The airport is set to receive a makeover in terms of new terminals, building and it will become more passenger friendly.
“It’s the need of the hour to stay tuned to the changes in the civil aviation sector. Proposed and ongoing development works will help the airport get a boost. Besides, more services - especially domestic ones - are awaited. These will draw more passengers to the airport,” said airport director K Sreenivasa Rao.
M K Raghavan MP, who exuded confidence in keeping the airport functional, demanded steps to make Karippur passenger-friendly. “As per international rules, clearance should be completed within 40 minutes. But, passengers here are destined to remain in the airport up to four hours due to delay. The authorities concerned should take immediate steps to rectify the issue,” Raghavan said.
With the completion of runway recarpeting works and Runway End Safety Area (RESA) development works, flight operators are all set to resume services of wide-body aircraft. The airport can also benefit from the new move by drawing expatriates from Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Palakkad districts. In May 2015, Saudi Airlines and Emirates, which have only wide-body aircraft, stopped their services from the airport to Gulf countries after the airport was temporarily closed for runway recarpeting.
The Kerala State Haj Committee has restored the Haj embarkation point at Karippur. This will boost the flow of international passengers. In 2015, Saudi Airlines shifted its Haj service to Nedumbassery due to the ban on wide-body aircraft.
People’s representatives, officers concerned and activists ruled out the possibility of a dip in revenue and the number of passengers in Karippur once Kannur airport goes functional. “There is the least chance of any kind of a drawback for Karippur. Opening a new airport at Kannur will help passengers in Malabar get more choices and will bring down the fare. This will tempt more passengers to opt for flights to meet their domestic requirements,” said Malabar Development Council president C E Chakkunny. Raghavan underscored such claims and said the airport can tap the potential of expatriates in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts. “The two districts have an abundance of business persons and expatriates. But, what the airport needs to do is to develop the infrastructure and change its approach towards passengers,” the MP said.