Kannur: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu jointly flagged off the first flight from Kannur International Airport to Abu Dhabi at 10.10 am on Sunday. Chief minister, union ministers and other ministers jointly lighted the lamp at the departure hall.
185 passengers have boarded the Air India Express Boeing 737 flight. The flight will return to Kannur by Sunday evening itself. The flights will begin to conduct service as per the schedule from Monday onwards. GoAir flight from Bengaluru will arrive at Kannur by 11 am. GoAir and IndiGo flights will conduct domestic services from Kannur.
The inaugural function had commenced at 6 in the morning on Sunday. Ministers, political leaders and several other prominent personalities from all walks of life arrived at the airport for the grand inauguration. The inaugural ceremony along with cultural events have begun on the main stage.
The passengers of the first flight received a warm welcome on the premises of Vayanthode Mattannur Cooperative Bank. Ministers and special guests led by minister EP Jayarajan welcomed them in front of the departure hall. The issue of the boarding pass began at the check-in counter at 7.15 am.
Minister K K Shailaja also welcomed the passengers to the airport and said it is a celebration for the whole of Kannur which is in a festival mood. With this, the development of the place would take top priority.
The cultural programmes took place at the main stage by 7.30 am. Ramachandran Kadannappally, minister for ports and museum, inaugurated the VIP lounge in the departure area and transport minister AK Saseendran inaugurated the ATM.
Health minister KK Shailaja inaugurated the foreign exchange counter. Minister for industries EP Jayarajan unveiled the installation of Malabar Handloom at International Security Hold. Later, revenue minister E Chandrasekharan inaugurated Food and Beverages Services. The ministers also distributed gifts to the passengers at the boarding gate.
Flights that would operate from here includes those to the UAE, Oman, Qatar, besides domestic ones to Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai among others.
The KIAL is slated to serve more than 1.5 million international passengers annually.
It is expected to boost tourism in Kannur, Kasargode, Wayanad and increase trade and commerce in the handloom and spices sectors.
The airport would be able to handle 2,000 passengers at a time.