August 15, 2022
Southern Indian City of Chennai to Get a New Airport

Southern Indian City of Chennai to Get a New Airport

DALLAS – The southern Indian city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras, has seen its airport (MAA) last nine decades since its establishment in 1932. Well, the Chennai International Airport operation period is nearing its end, and the city needs a new airport for the future.

 Chennai International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in India and the third busiest airport for international traffic in the Asian country.

While several talks on a new airport surfaced for many years, it’s now confirmed. The second airport will be located in the Parandur area – 70 km southwest of Chennai. However, several clearances are still to be given a green light.

The new airport will require an investment of Rs 20,000 crore and span across approximately 4,500 acres of land that would aim to cater to 100 million passengers and 500 daily flights initially. It’ll feature two runways, terminal buildings, taxiways, and a cargo terminal.

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One of the two runways at the airport. Photo: Ashwin Kumar from Bangalore, India – P1050091, CC BY-SA 2.0

So What’s the Matter with the Current Airport?

Handling an average of 400 flight movements and 40,000 passengers a day with an area of around 1300 acres, it’s surely not enough to keep for the long run. Currently. MAA also features two runways that cross each other at an angle – not ideal for simultaneous traffic, and neither of the two can be extended.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has been modifying the current terminals to meet demand but it won’t be enough. In about 6-7 years the current airport will reach the peak limit of operations is fast nearing and there’s no solution but to bring in a replacement. Once the new airport is opened, both will be operated simultaneously.

For the month of June 2022, Chennai airport ranked third for international passenger numbers and sixth for domestic passenger numbers.

Chennai Airport. Photo: Tshrinivasan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Chennai’s Current Airport’s Happenings

While the new airport still needs site clearance from the aviation authorities, the current airport sees some excitement as its new terminal, which will be integrated with the existing ones to open real soon as an interim fix and will more than double the airport’s present capacity of handling 17 million passengers per annum (MPPA) to nearly 35 Million passengers per annum.

In terms of new routes to the south Indian city, British Airways (BA) has resumed its London (LHR) – Chennai run since the pandemic but this time a daily service rather than thrice a week. Ethiopian Airlines (ET) has also commenced service from Addis Ababa (ADD) to MAA.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tasew said, “we have been connecting Asia and Africa for 55 years now facilitating trade between the two continents. The addition of Chennai as a fourth passenger destination in India is a testimony of our resilience and unwavering commitment to serve our customers in India.”

Featured image: Chennai Airport’s Anterior View. Photo: Tshrinivasan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

EASA commercial pilot | Flight Instructor | Aviation Journalist & writer based in Germany.

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