Kochi: The state government is ready to take over the Thiruvananthapuram airport and run it modelled on Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Wednesday.
He was inaugurating the renovated domestic terminal (T-1) and the enhanced solar power production unit of the Kochi airport.
“The state has conveyed its opposition to the Centre’s decision to privatise airports,” he said. “We’re ready to take over the Thiruvananthapuram airport if the Centre goes ahead with its plan.”
Recently, the union cabinet approved a proposal to manage Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati and Mangaluru airports under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
“Even while acquiring land for the Thiruvananthapuram airport, there were certain understandings between the Centre and the state over its operation. The state government is managing the Kannur and Kochi airports. We’re ready to form SPV and take over the Thiruvananthapuram airport too,” he said.
The chief minister said CIAL has turned into one of the most efficiently run institutions in the state. The company provided 25 per cent dividend to nearly 19,000 investors for the last financial year. The state government, a major investor with around Rs 100 crore investment, so far received Rs 230 crore as the dividend. “This year alone, the state got Rs 31 crore profit share from CIAL,” he said.
CIAL managing director V.J. Kurian said the first phase of the inland waterways project will be completed by 2020.
“The project proposing to connect 11 districts and three airports will aid the development of the state in a big way in future… I assure the chief minister that the first phase will be completed by 2020,” Mr Kurian said
Terminal-1, which was earlier handling the international operations, was reconstructed as per global standards at a cost of Rs 240 crore to cater to rise in footfalls of domestic travellers. The terminal can handle 4000 passengers per hour (five times the earlier capacity) as the total area was increased to six lakh sqft from earlier one lakh sqft. There are 56 check-in counters, including four with self-bag drop facility. A total of 2600