Kozhikode: With the Malabar Development Council (MDC), a prominent body of citizens batting for an international airport in Kozhikode district at Thiruvambadi, many have pointed out that a second airport in the region would reduce the importance of Calicut International Airport in Karipur, Malappuram. The demand for the second airport came because big aircraft was not allowed to operate from Karipur citing safety reasons.
It is to be recalled that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had suggested that the state government submit a proposal for a Greenfield airport at Thiruvambadi in coordination with MDC. To facilitate the move, a company also was formed recently.
Karipur airport has been closed for big aircraft citing the lack of sufficient length for the runway, putting the international status of the airport in jeopardy.
Thiruvambadi MLA George M Thomas told DC that he was not very convinced about the need for a second airport. “Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had already dismissed its possibilities earlier”, he said.
When it was pointed out that it was the suggestion of the union ministry of civil aviation to MDC to approach it for clearance for a second airport through the state government, Mr Thomas said that the government had to consider many issues before going in for a second airport in the region.
However many feel that the proposal will not materialize as the proposed land is a plantation. Calicut Chamber of Commerce former chief PTS Unni told DC that any move to handover a plantation for non-farming purposes would be a violation of the plantation act.
“What we should do immediately is to retain the importance of Karipur airport and also try to ensure the operations of wide-bodied aircraft from the airport”, he added. Meanwhile MK Raghavan MP told DC that if there was no possibility to operate wide-bodied aircraft from Karipur, it was natural for people to start exploring other opportunities. “The existing ban on huge aircraft had affected passengers in the international sector”, he pointed out.
Many feel that an initiative from the state government would ensure a good airport for Malabar as the future of Calicut international airport at Karipur is bleak.
MDC chairman CE Chakkunni told DC that they just needed a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) from the state government and a proposal for the airport through proper channels to AAI.