Mysuru/Kannur: While Mysuru, the cultural capital of Karnataka and the biggest city next only to the State Capital of Bengaluru is struggling to have a full-fledged Airport, Kannur, a relatively small city in Kerala, is all set to get an international airport.
Most of the works have been completed at Kannur International Airport in Mattanur, Kerala and flights are expected to start well before the September 2018 deadline. The bhoomi puja for the airport was performed in 2010 and since then, the airport works, including the land acquisition (the trickiest part of any project) were initiated smoothly and the results are there for everyone to see.
Compare this with the Mysore Airport at Mandakalli with the backdrop of Chamundi Hill. Since the 1960s, Mysureans had been appealing the authorities to upgrade the airport and the airport was finally inaugurated in 2010 with no airline coming forward to operate flights and some airlines operating only flights during Dasara.
After much push and pull, only now the airport has a lone daily flight to Chennai and the runway still remains primitive, capable of handling only small planes.
The Kannur International Airport has come up on a plot of 1,900 acres atop a hill at Mookapramabu, just 32.4 km from the border town of Makutta and 58.3 kms from Virajpet, Kodagu and about 90 kms from Madikeri. Nearly 1,200 acres of land on the hilltop has been levelled and the work on the airport has been completed at a cost of Rs. 1,892 crore. Another 700 acre of land has been acquired for future expansion.
Incidentally, Kerala already has three International Airports in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode and has got fourth one at Kannur. Once inaugurated, the Kannur Airport will join the elite group of airports with a 4,000-metre runway. This will be the fourth international airport to be in the same class as Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi (4,430 metres), Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad (4,260 meters) and Bengaluru International Airport (4,120 metres).
With its proximity to Kodagu (Coorg), Mysuru and Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka, the Kannur International Airport is all set to transform the face of the region.
The airport is expected to bring more tourists to the region and facilitate export of high-value handloom, coffee, fish, meat, spices, pharmaceuticals, flowers, etc., which will improve the socio-economic conditions of the region.
An international air cargo complex of 1.05 lakh sqft. is under construction equipped with modern facilities to handle perishable and general cargo. Once the cargo complex is fully functional, Kannur International Airport will become the cargo hub of the region.
There will be 24 check-in counters to begin with, and provision has been made to make it 48 on demand. First-of-its kind in airports in Kerala, two self baggage drop counters are also installed to save time that will otherwise be spent at check-in counters. Self check-in machines have also been provided.
Six aero-bridges will speed up the boarding and disembarking process and provide all-weather convenient access to the aircraft. There will be a Day Hotel equipped with 20 fully furnished rooms and shower facilities within the terminal itself to add more convenience.
World-class navigational aids are planned including Instrument Landing System (ILS) along with CAT-1 approach lighting system to guide aircraft to land safely even under poor weather/visibility conditions.