Kodagu on cusp of progress as intl airport takes shape

Flight trials conducted at facility in Kerala, 58 km from Virajpet

Kodagu on cusp of progress as intl airport takes shape

 Flight trials were undertaken on Monday at the newly constructed international near here.

Though the facility is not in the district and is part of the neighbouring state of Kerala, it is expected to provide an impetus to the economic development of the district, especially in the tourism sector.

The airport has come up at Mattanur (Kannur district), just 58 km from here. Though the official inauguration is slated for a later date, preparations for the trial run were being made for the past one month. Work on the runway was undertaken, overcoming many hurdles.

The construction of 2,400-metre of the proposed 3,050-metre runway has been completed in the first phase. Monday’s trial run was conducted on 1,500 metres of the runway.

Commercial operations are likely to begin in September this year, if all goes well, sources in the government and the Kannur International Airport Authority said.

The opening of the airport will put pressure on the Virajpet-Kannur interstate-highway that passes through Virajpet town, the Virajpet-Hunsur highway and the Virajpet-Madikeri highway. But work on upgrading and expanding these stretches is still in the initial stages.

The construction of the airport is expected to cost a total of Rs 1,892 crore and the project was approved when C M Ibrahim, who hails from the State, was the union minister for civil aviation in the Deve Gowda government at the Centre. At present, the Mandakalli airport in Mysuru is the nearest to the district (100 km from Virajpet). The other nearby airports are the Mangaluru  airport (160 km from Virajpet) and the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru (250 km from Virajpet).

The new airport at Mattanur is also expected to help exports of the commercial crops grown in the district. It will also be useful for those pursuing studies and seeking employment abroad, besides giving a boost to cultural exchanges with foreign countries. The real estate sector in the district is likely to witness a boom too.

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