The team of officials from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will visit Chennai next week to conduct the feasibility study of two locations for the construction of the second airport in the city. According to sources, the places considered for the airport are between Mamandur and Cheyyur, and another site between Kanchipuram and Arakonam. Both locations are around 80 kms from Chennai. Chennai’s second airport is expected to be up by 2024.
Team to check air traffic and airspace usage
The team of AAI will primarily check the location’s proximity to defence airfields and another airport. It will also examine the no-fly zones. After scrutinising both places, the team will file a report to the committee under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The committee, comprising of defence officers, among others, is responsible for providing in-principle approval of the site for the new airport.
Other required studies analysing land usage and other details will be conducted only after receiving the initial approval. Although there is no surety of the area of land the authorities are considering for Chennai’s second airport, a general estimation is around 1,500 acres to 2,000 acres. Setting up an airport will take approximately three to five years.
The Air Force and Navy control Tambaram and Arakonam airspaces. The defence has reservations to allow civil airports coming up next to them. Currently, defence airspace is open for civilian flights.
Expansion works of Chennai airport are underway
Meanwhile, AAI has started works to strengthen a few taxiways and parts of the apron area at Chennai airport. This will allow the airport to handle wide-bodied planes operating on international routes. The works of the integrated terminal are also underway, and it is expected to be operational by next year. Once functional, AAI will move international flights there. The current renovations works are a part of Rs 2000 crore phase 2 expansion work.
As the work progresses, AAI hopes to receive requests from airlines to operate long-haul flights to destinations in the Far East and Europe.