Chamber seeks privatisation of Calicut airport

“‘Invisible forces’ blocking development of airport”

The Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said it would launch an agitation demanding that the steps to privatise the Calicut International Airport be fast-tracked.

In a release, Subair Kolakkadan, president, and K. Moidu, chairman of the chamber’s airport committee, said on Monday that some “invisible forces” were blocking the development of the airport.

The State government had not been able to acquire 136 acres of land sought by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and another 15 acres near the city for vehicle parking. Many of the flights to Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad from the Calicut airport were cancelled and launched from Kannur airport.

The authorities were not taking any steps for the landing of Code ‘E’ wide-bodied aircraft even after the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation and the AAI gave permission for big aircraft to land here. The fuel tariff concession under the regional airport connectivity scheme UDAN was given for all the services from Kannur initially. For Calicut airport, this was pegged at 29%, but reduced to 5% after widespread protests. The recent proposal to raise it by another 4% is applicable only to Calicut. At a recent meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, though over 30 new flights were announced for Kerala, not even one was given for Calicut. The demand to launch services to Far-Eastern countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia was still pending, they said.

Dharna on Sept. 17

The chamber functionaries would sit on a fast at Mananchira on September 17 and stage a dharna as part of their agitation.

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