New Site coming up at

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Six idle airports to be activated

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has embarked on an "idle airports activation programme" in the Southern region.

The airports in Tuticorin, Vellore, Pondicherry, Salem, Rajahmundry, and Vijayawada will be covered. Besides, facilities in Tirupati and Hubli airports will be upgraded, according to K. Ramalingam, Regional Executive Director of AAI, Southern region.

"The AAI has asked the airlines to show sustainable operations to enable it to maintain its facilities at these unused airports," Dr. Ramalingam told The Hindu .


The Vagaikulam airstrip in Tuticorin became operational on April 1 this year with the commencement of Air Deccan flights. There is a 2,600-ft runway and a terminal building designed to handle 50 to 60 passengers. It is situated within 10 km from the port town. The airstrip is suitable for ATR-42 aircraft operations under Visual Flying Range (VFR) conditions.

The Vellore airstrip, located on 51.5-acres, was activated recently to facilitate regular flying by trainee pilots of the Madras Flying Club.

Casual operations

The 2,600-ft runway is on kutcha land and fit for casual operations. It was earlier being used by Taneja Aerospace. The Vellore airport is 5 km away from the town. VFR type operations are permitted.

Jagson airlines will soon commence regular flights between Chennai and Pondicherry. The airport at Lawspet was used by the then feeder airline, Vayudoot, between 1989 and 1993. At present, Orient Flight School is using the airport, located 7 km away from the city and is suitable for ATR operations with load penalty.

Night landing

A terminal building, which can handle over 40 passengers, is available. The AAI is planning night landing facility at Pondicherry airport.

It has received a requisition from Air Deccan for activating the full-fledged airfield in Salem, built in 1993, to accommodate Boeing jet operations.
The NEPC was operating it in 1994 and Tetra aviation from 1997 to 2000.


Located 20 km from the city, the airport has a runway fit for Airbus-320 operations with load penalty. A terminal building with a capacity to handle 100 passengers is available.

The Rajahmundry airport, 8 km from the city, was used by Vayudoot between 1985 and 1994. The airstrip is being used by helicopters engaged in offshore oil exploration. The 5,830-ft runway is suitable for ATR class operations.

Scheduled flights

The Vijayawada airport is being used by Air Deccan for scheduled flight operations linking Hyderabad and Vijayawada.

The AAI was planning to equip the Tirupati terminal with central air-conditioning facility and the runway re-carpeting and apron expansion work were planned. Work on erecting solar-powered lights on all 12 `obstructing hills' was under progress. Nine hills have the lighting system.


The AAI has commissioned night landing facility at Hubli airport. Apart from expanding the terminal building, it has taken up runway resurfacing work.

Source: The Hindu

No comments: