New Delhi: The Public Investment Board (PIB) on Tuesday cleared expansion and modernisation plans for the Chennai airport, barely a month after the Supreme Court upheld the Tamil Nadu government's decision to acquire land for the much-awaited project.
According to government sources, the project had been delayed due to pressure from the Left parties, who were earlier allies of the government, and also because of some problems related to land acquisition.
Work on up-gradation of the airport is now expected to start from September.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is slated to invest Rs1,808 crore in the project, which is earmarked for completion in October 2010. The AAI will generate 80 per cent of the required capital from internal resources, and raise the balance 20 per cent from commercial borrowings.
According to a civil aviation ministry statement, project funding will not depend on budgetary support from the government and neither will it result in any user development fees (UDF) being levied on passengers.
A government decision in 2007 ruled out any privatisation of the Chennai airport and also mandated that development would be carried out by the AAI. Expansion work includes enhancement of runway capacity, apron capacity and terminal building capacity.
''The state government has handed over about 130 acres to the AAI for the development of the secondary runway. Land has also been made available by the defence authorities,'' the statement said.
According to the new development plans, acquired land will be used to construct a second runway, parallel to the existing 12,000-feet main runway. The existing 6,500-foot cross runway would also be extended, which would enhance the airports handling capacity to 50 flights an hour and allow it to meet the demands of air traffic until at least 2016.