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|May 24, 1999||
Dream becomes airport: India's first public-funded aviation project takes off in Kochi
The Rs 2.3 billion Kochi International Airport, the first of its kind in the country with a massive financial participation from the public, especially Non Resident Indians, will be dedicated to the nation by President K R Narayanan on May 25.
The 3,400-metre-long runway of the airport is one of the longest in Asia, capable of operating any type of aircraft. It has a 930-metre taxi track, with two link taxi connecting the runway spread over three panchayats -- Nedumbasserry, Sreemoolanagaram and Kanjoor -- 25 km north-east of Kochi.
The fully airconditioned terminal buildings of the airport have a space of over 10,000 square metres each, furnished with all amenities.
The airport's cargo building is located in an area of 3,500 square metres.
It is being equipped with night landing facilities for round-the-clock operations.
Besides Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, it is the third civil airport in Kerala with international standards.
A Dornier aircraft of the Airports Authority of India is now engaged in the calibration tests of various navigation and communication equipment of the airport.
The test-landing of an Indian Airlines Boeing 737 is likely to be conducted before the commissioning of the airport.
Civil aviation secretary T V Jayakrishnan and director-general of civl aviation H S Khola are supervising various tests for the grant of the DGCA licence for the operation of the airport.
Narayanan will arrive at the airport by a naval helicopter for the inauguration. A navy chopper had landed at the airport yesterday as part of the rehearsal of the president's arrival.
Indian Airlines and Air-India are scheduled to operate flights from the airport to various Indian and the destinations in the Middle East destinations from June 10 next. Ticket bookings have already commenced.
The project has come up on 520 hectares of paddy fields and coconut groves. Nearly 400 families have been evicted from the project area and rehabilitated elsewhere.
The state government has a 51 per cent equity by way of providing infrastructure facilities for the project, implemented by the Cochin International Airport Limited, the company mainly promoted by Malayali Non Resident Indians in West Asia, Europe and the United States.
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