Thursday, May 15, 2008

Greenfield airport site feasible, says study

Date:16/05/2008 URL:
Front Page Greenfield airport site feasible, says study
Ananth Krishnan
Project awaits technical approval
Emphasis on connectivity to site
CHENNAI: While the Airports Authority of India prepares to begin work on the modernisation and expansion of Chennai airport in the coming weeks, it has also taken the first steps towards starting work on its greenfield airport project in Sriperumbudur.
The AAI has conducted a techno-feasibility study, and an official told The Hindu that the site was feasible for the greenfield airport.
The proposal is currently with the International Civil Aviation Organisation awaiting approval. While the AAI initially planned to construct four runways on the site, it will now build two parallel runways. When completed, the project will take care of Chennai’s aviation requirements “for the next 50 years,” the official said.
The State government has identified 4,820.66 acres of land in Tirumangalam, Mambakkam, Irungulam, Vadamangalam, Padicherry, Sirukilai, Kilai and Sriperumbudur in Sriperumbudur taluk, and Tirupandiyur and Vayalur in Tiruvallur taluk for the project, and around 6,540 people and 1,078 homes will be dislocated by the development.
The lands marked out for the greenfield airport are close to the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway. A State government official said that developing connectivity to the proposed site will be strongly emphasised in the planning for the project as the government was keen on avoiding a repeat of the teething troubles faced in Bangalore and Hyderabad, where similar greenfield airports were set up on the outskirts of the two cities.
The government was also exploring the possibility of providing rail connectivity to the proposed site from the line at Avadi, and also developing the national highway to Sriperumbudur as an expressway concurrently. While the AAI had initially slated the greenfield project for completion before 2015, the go-ahead for the expansion plan at Meenambakkam will give it more time to develop the project.
According to AAI sources, the expansion plan will enhance capacity and meet traffic demands till at least 2016 or 2017. The AAI has invested more than Rs. 1,800 crore in the expansion project, and is expected to keep both airports open.
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