Sunday, April 20, 2008

New airport is a high priority: Secy

Chennai: Tamil Nadu transport secretary Debendranath Sarangi has confirmed that the state government was pressing the Centre to take up the Sriperumbudur airport project on a priority basis because the Meenambakkam airport would not be able to handle the growing traffic demands beyond 2015.

Sarangi said a feasibility study was being undertaken by the Airports Authority of India. The Meenambakkam airport and the proposed airport at Sriperumbudur are separated by 25 km as the crow flies and will not come in each other's path, he said.

Chennai handles 10 million passengers a year, and the passenger traffic is projected to grow to 22 million over the next 10 to 12 years when the planned construction of a parallel runway and a second terminal at Meenambakkam phase-II is completed, an AAI official said.

But if the government decides not to acquire land adjacent to the airport, a new airport becomes an absolute necessity.

Work on lengthening the secondary runway at Meenambakkam, from 6,900 to 10,000 feet, is on as part of the phase-I expansion.

Once that is done, it will ease pressure on Meenambakkam and with some deft management can keep the traffic going until 2015.

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