Thiruvananthapuram: Operations on Sunday commenced at the newly-inaugurated Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL) in Kerala. As the airport's first commercial aircraft, an Air India Express flight took off to Abu Dhabi.
Union Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and Kerala Chief Minster Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the airport earlier in the day.
In June this year, Prabhu announced the opening of the airport following a meeting with Vijayan. During the meeting, both discussed the finalisation of the Rs 1,892 crore-airport located at Mattanur, near Kannur, covering 2,000 acres of land.
The apron of the airport has parking bays for 14 Code E aircraft or 20 Code C aircraft.
The airport is capable of handling at a time 2,000 passengers and it is anticipated that KIAL will serve more than 1.5 million international passengers annually, besides changing the face of north Kerala with tourism and business activities especially handloom, textiles and floriculture.
This international airport started off with a runway of 3,050 meters while its length was expected to increase to 3,400 meters by the time of opening. The runway length will eventually touch 4,000 meters, making it one of the four biggest airports in the country.
With this, Kerala will be the only state in the country to have four international airports with the others at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.
The Kerala government has 35 percent stakes, 25 percent by public sector undertakings, 10 percent with the Airport Authority of India and the remaining 30 percent is with Cooperatives, banks and individual shareholders.
The first trial operation took place in February 2016, when an Indian Air Force aircraft landed for the first time at the airport and was received by the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.