Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL), the second greenfield airport set up under the public-private partnership (PPP) model, near Mattannur in Kannur district was inaugurated on Sunday.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union minister Suresh Prabhu jointly inaugurated Kannur airport. The Air India Express to Abu Dhabi is the first plane to fly out of Kannur.
A large number of people have arrived at the airport on the inaugural day. Both the opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP boycotted the event.
The airport built in an area of 2,300 acres has all modern passenger amenities. At present the length of the runway is 3,050 metres and works to extend the length of the runway to 4,000 metres had already began, it was stated. After expansion, KIAL will be the biggest airport in Kerala.
The airport has 24 check-in counters, self-baggage drop counters, self-checking machines and 32 immigration counters.
The airport has arrangements to facilitate the landing of big aircraft like Boeing-777. It has bays to park 20 aircraft at a time.
The Kannur airport will be the fourth international airport in the state, the others being in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. Kannur airport is the second to be built under PPP route after Nedumbassery International Airport at Kochi. It is only 20 km away from Kannur city and 2 km from Mattannur on Kannur Mattannur Mysuru road.
Among the objectives of the airport include transforming the north Malabar region into a highly developed growth centre for travel, tourism and industries.
Construction of the airport, considered a flagship programme of the previous Congress-led UDF government, was inaugurated by then Defence Minister and senior Congress leader A.K. Antony on February 2, 2014.