More facilities in airport will improve tourism, IT prospects
The Thiruvananthapuram International Airport’s inclusion on the list of the Public Private Partnership (PPP)-managed airports will trigger further development in the capital city.
Premier facilities, like those offered in airports managed by private operators, will give an impetus to the tourism industry and enhance the prospects of Technopark and the upcoming Vizhinjam international deepwater seaport.
“It will benefit both the State and the flyers. The decision to include six more airports in the PPP mode is the answer to the apprehensions raised 25 years ago when we proposed that mode for the airport at Nedumbassery,” says V.J. Kurien, the architect of the maiden PPP mode airport in the country and Managing Director of the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL).
The CIAL tale:
Mr. Kurien told The Hindu on Friday that CIAL, launched with ₹20,000 as capital, now has an asset of ₹ 4,000 crore. “We have demonstrated that the PPP is viable for airports. Delhi airport operator GMR has to share 45.99% of its revenue with the AAI every year. There is no need for apprehension.”
The State should grab the opportunity and further develop the airport, said S.N. Raghuchandran Nair, Chairman, Airport Users Consultative Committee. “PPP is the best option for the airport. The required land should be acquired. Issues of poor air connectivity and high air fares, when compared to Nedumbassery, will be addresed now.”
The airport was selected for the PPP project as it is expected to cross the five million mark in passenger movement during 2018-19 and in view of the 14% increase in traffic during 2017-18, AAI sources said.
V.S. Sivakumar, MLA, said details of the PPP mode were being awaited. “A consensus is needed for land acquisition and local participation should be ensured,” he said.
Road, rail, waterways
With the entry of the private operator, chances of developing the airport as a multi-modal transport hub has brightened. It will be the first airport to have connectivity by road, rail, and inland waterways.
However, the move has put the State in a tight spot as the acquisition of eight hectares for the ₹600-crore integrated terminal for international flights was in the final phase. The Vallakkadavu-Vayyamoola Joint Action Council, spearheading the stir against land acquisition, has asked the government to suspend the proceedings. The AAI had sought 82 acres for setting up fuel farm and cargo complex, says council chairman A. Saifudeen Haji.