Karipur runway shortening: Second top public sector airport of country under threat

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Representational Image | Photo: Binoj PP/ Mathrubhumi

Karipur: Karipur International Airport, which stands second in the total number of passengers and revenue in the country, is under threat of the Union Government's move to choke its resources.

Among the 15 public sector airports of the nation, only Chennai International Airport generates more revenue than the Karipur airport. While considering the private sector airports also, Karipur holds the fifth position.

From April to December in 2021, as many as 9,11,756 international passengers availed the services of 7,433 aircraft. Meanwhile, 10,00,152 international passengers made use of the 13,482 services from Chennai airport in this same period. Even though Chennai deployed almost twice the services of Karipur airport, only 88,396 more passengers flew from the former compared to Karipur. It has to be noted that Karipur managed this when its permission to operate large aircraft or premium class services were denied following the crash of an Air India flight. Even the biggest aircrafts deployed in Karipur can carry only 200 passengers.

The airline companies that cut short their services from other airports pointing to the shortage of passengers, always attempt to increase the services from Karipur. But such endeavours are getting obstructed now.

Read more: New policies reveal Centre's intentions to privatise Karipur airport at cheap rate

Reducing runway length

The initial procedures to reduce the length of the runways of Karipur International Airport has begun. The discussions between agencies over the project and the preparation of sketches are progressing here.

The airport authority has decided to put aside 240 metres from both sides of the existing runway for the Runway and Safety Area (RSA). By this, the runway with 2,860 metres will become 2,540 metres. There will be a 10 metres gap between the runway and RSA.

Only 2,540 metres-long runway is required for the landing of small aircraft. However, the lack of an Instrumental Landing System (ILS) will affect the services in harsh weather conditions. With this change, large aircraft will not be able to resume service from the airport. Premium airlines like Emirates, Etihad and Saudi Air have already decided to end service from Karipur.

The airport authority has directed to complete the works by December. An expense of Rs 150 crores is expected for this.

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