Air India successfully landed its test flight at Kannur International Airport Thursday, clearing the way for flight operations to start at the fourth airport in Kerala. This landing was necessary for the aviation ministry to clear operation at the new airport.
The Air India flight took-off from Thiruvananthapuram at 9.45 am and landed at Kannur at 11.38 am. After the Boeing 747, the aero bridge and other facilities for passengers were also tested.
Built at a cost of Rs 2,292 crore and spread over 2,300 acres, the airport is expected to serve more than one million passengers annually and authorities estimate the number will increase five-fold by 2025.
The airport has a runway suitable for Code E aircraft, like the Boeing B-777 and Airbus A-330. It will be extended later for the operation of Code F aircraft, like Airbus A-380. The integrated 95,000 sq m terminal building, the eighth largest in India, has been built with state-of-the-art facilities.
The Kannur airport is expected to benefit residents of the state working in Middle East, as many are from the Malabar region. Among the tourist destinations expected to gain from the airport becoming operational are Coorg and Mysore in Karnataka, as well as Kerala’s hilly districts like Wayanad, Kannur, and Kasargod.
The airport has received a LEED gold rating for energy and environment conservation and has a solar power system. While a 7-MW plant has been installed presently, the capacity will be increased to 10 MW in the coming years.
Domestic destinations will be connected by private carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet, who won the bids under the UDAN regional connectivity scheme.
Domestic destinations from the airport will include Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Goa, Hubballi, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Solapur and Hindon (Ghaziabad).
The state already has airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode.