Kannur airport to be operational by September

The airport, located at Mattanur in around 2,300 acres, is expected to boost the tourism prospects of northern Kerala.

Kerala's fourth international airport in Kannur will be operational in September, a boon especially for those from the northern parts of the state who are working abroad.

With this, Kerala becomes the only state in the country to have four international airports with the others being located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.

The airport, located at Mattanur in around 2,300 acres, is expected to boost the tourism prospects of northern Kerala.

With 13% of 25 lakh people in Kannur district employed overseas, the operationalisation of the airport will act as a welcome change from their longer travel from Kozhikode airport.

Airlines will also start domestic operations from airports in Karnataka to Kannur under the UDAN scheme, connecting Bengaluru and Hubballi.

The runway is 4000 km long and can handle Boeing B-777 and Airbus A-330 aircraft. There are also plans to extend the runway to handle an Airbus A-380 at a later stage.

This is the second greenfield airport set up in the public-private partnership (PPP) model in civil aviation infrastructure sector in Kerala after the facility in Kochi.

The Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL) believes it will provide an "international gateway in the northern Malabar region with state-of-the-art facilities to support safe, efficient and cost-effective travel for foreign tourists and ‘non-resident’ Indians from Kerala, as well as domestic passengers".

In KIAL, the Kerala government, the promoter, owns 35% stake while PSUs owned by the state have 2.32%, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd 21.68%, Airports Authority of India 10% and private sector 31% of the shares.

The airport is also expected to provide a "host of commercial, trade promotion and industrial activities that can generate employment opportunities, provide avenues for trade in traditional products to affluent markets in the Gulf and Europe and to open new vistas in the field of Information Technology (IT) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It will also help the North Malabar region to develop a growth centre for travel, tourism and industries.

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