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World-class touch for eight non-metro airports in South

Ashwini Phadnis

No of passengers handled by these airports seen at 42.6 lakh in 2009-10

New Delhi , June 15

New world-class airport infrastructure is likely to welcome the more than 42.6 lakh passengers passing through the eight non-metro airports in south India during 2009-10.

The latest data available shows that among the southern airports, while Visakhapatnam is expected to handle 3,37,959 domestic passengers during 2006-07, this number is likely to jump to 3,78,515 the following year and touch 4,74,809 by 2009-10.

Coimbatore airport is expected to handle 5,60,269 passengers during 2006-07, of which 5,44,366 would be domestic passengers.

The following year the airport is expected to handle 6,43,196 passengers, including 6,26,021 domestic passengers. The number of domestic passengers passing through the airport is expected to cross 8.2 lakh of the 8.47 lakh passengers handled during 2009-10. The eight south Indian airports will be modernised as part of an in-principle approval that the Prime Minister's Infrastructure Committee recently accorded for the development of 35 non-metro airports. The domestic passengers handled by Madurai airport is expected to increase from 2,28,131 during 2006-07 to 3,01,703 in 2008-09 and peak at 3,46,958 the following year.

Similarly, Port Blair is expected to see passenger arrivals cross 2.8 lakh, up from 1,93,785 passengers during 2004-05.

International dominance

There are projections that until at least 2009-10, growth at Tiruchiand Thiruvananthapuram airports would be driven by international passengers.

The passenger traffic data shows that while the Tiruchi airport is expected to handle 2,79,159 passengers during 2006-07, of which 2,24,594 would be international passengers, the following year international arrivals is projected to cross 2.58 lakh of the 3,23,761 passengers that the airport is expected to handle.

This predominance of international passengers compared to domestic passengers is expected to continue till 2009-10, when the airport is expected to handle 4,35,867 passengers, including 3,41,579 international passengers.

The Thiruvananthapuram airport is projected to handle 9,61,949 international passengers during 2006-07 of the 13 lakh passengers passing through the airport.

The following year the number of international passengers is expected to cross 10.1 lakh of the 13.6 lakh passengers expected to pass through the airport.

During 2009-10, the airport is expected to handle more than 11.1 lakh international passengers of the total 15.1 lakh passengers.

Realising the huge international passenger interest in Thiruvananthapuram, several international airlines are seeking permission to operate more flights from there.

In December last year, the Government allowed the Dubai-based Emirates airlines to operate an additional 2,000 seats a week between Dubai and Thiruvananthapuram.

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