The infrastructure growth of the 22 international airports and 66 domestic airports across India has been rather slow in the last decade. With the central government announcing huge investment in the airport sector during its two five-year plan terms, only little has been spent on the modernisation and greenfield projects. Though the development was slow, the international airports development projects in the last decade have been remarkable.
The Netaji Subash Chandra Bose International Airport of Kolkata, which completed its modernisation and expansion in 2013, has recently been adjudged as an engineering marvel and the most improved airport in Asia. It has been also awarded for ‘Excellence in Built Environment 2013’ by the Indian Building Congress.
The recently inaugurated T2 Terminal of the Mumbai International Airport, which is the second busiest airport in India, has been upgraded with India’s tallest ATC tower, Terminal 2, and construction of a dedicated link from the Western Express Highway to T2 etc., making Mumbai special from other international airports.
Now, Tiruchirapalli International Airport in Trichy district, which is tucked away in a corner of Tamil Nadu, and which is standing on a fraction of the area of Mumbai and Delhi airports and was overlooked by many international carriers, has become the fastest growing international airport. Trichy airport was declared an international airport in October 2012 along with Lucknow, Varanasi, Coimbatore and Mangalore airports.
According to a government statistics the international passenger traffic of Trichy airport has seen a growth of 382 per cent between 2006-07 and 2012-13, jumping three notches more than bigger airports such as Goa, Lucknow and Amritsar and is expected to overtake even Ahmedabad to become the tenth biggest international airport in India.
The airport’s cargo terminal is now ranked first among the non-metro airports managed by the Airports Authority of India. The cargo tonnage has registered the highest levels of growth of 2,899 tonnes, jumping two positions up to overtake Goa and Amritsar.
The airport is one of the non-metro airports selected for `200 crore city side development on public-private partnership model. The airport’s new passenger terminal built at a cost of `80 crore has a total area of 126,770 sq. ft, while the new terminal at Mumbai airport spreads across 4.4 million sq. ft. The airport has the shortest runway among the top 15 airports in the country spreading 8,136 ft while Delhi airport has a 13,534 ft runway and Amritsar airport has a runway length of 12,001 ft.