- Airport just 32.4km from Virajpet
- Likely to boost tourism in State
The Kannur International Airport coming up near Mattanur in the bordering State of Kerala and likely to be ready by May end is just 90km from Madikeri and is expected to become a boon for people of Kodagu. The flights are expected to commence from September.
Kodagu has already carved a niche for itself on the tourist map and the new airport is expected to boost tourism. Incidentally Kerala already has three International Airports in Kochi, Tiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode boasting to get the fourth one soon.
The new airport is coming up on a plot of 1,900 acres atop a hill at Mookapramabu just 32.4km from the border town of Makutta and 58.3km from Virajpet. About 1,200 acre of land on the hill top has been levelled and the work on the airport is underway at a cost of Rs. 1,892 crore. Another 700 acre of land has been acquired for future expansion.
Though the land for the airport was acquired way back in 2008 when E.K. Nayanar was the Chief Minister of Kerala, the work on the airport could commence only in Nov. 2013 owing to some administrative and technical problems. Now the pace of work has picked up and the airport is likely to be ready before the onset of monsoon.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, inspected the ongoing works of the airport recently and announced that it would be ready in March. The airport is expected to cater to about 8.5 million passengers in a year by drawing about 55% of passengers from Kozhikode Airport and 40% of passengers from Mangaluru airport.
The airport is also expected to benefit flyers from Mysuru, Chikkamagalur, Hassan, Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts.
A runway of 3.5km length has been made ready and a plane was made to land on it last year on an experimental basis. The runway is expected to be expanded to 4km.
V. Tulasidas, Managing Director, Kannur International Airport speaking to Star of Mysore, explained that though the airport would be ready by May end, flights can operate only from September after getting clearance from Department of Civil Aviation. The airport will be connected to Gulf Countries and important cities in India.