NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday paved the way for modernising the Chennai airport as also begin preparatory work on a greenfield one there. The Prime Minister's committee of infrastructure put its stamp on the state government's recommendation and decided that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will upgrade the existing airport at a cost of Rs 2,350 crore. It also asked for a pre-feasibility report for a greenfield airport near Chennai.
Giving the break-up of the expected cost, an aviation ministry official said: "The cost of construction of runway, taxiway and apron would be around Rs 1,100 crore and cost of construction of terminal building, cargo building, car park and face lift would be Rs 1,250 crore." The authority is giving final touches to its master plan for the existing place that envisions building a new domestic terminal and upgrading the international one.
The existing Chennai airport can handle about 25 aircraft movement per hour and. Even after expansion, the airport will get saturated by 2014-15 and the greenfield airport has to be ready then. The same logic has been applied in Mumbai where also the Navi Mumbai airport is to be ready in time the existing ones gets saturated around the same time.
"The Airport handled 2.8 million international passengers in 2006-07. The capacity of this terminal is 3 million annually. Similarly the domestic terminal which handled 5.9 million passengers in 2006-07 has a capacity to handle 6 million passengers annually and will be saturated by 2007-08," said the official while highlighting the importance of upgrading the existing airport. The cargo handling capacity is also expected to be saturated around the same time.