CHENNAI International Airport's new international terminal began operations in the southern state of Tamil Nadu last week.
“The opening of the new terminal will help Chennai International Airport to keep on a par with other southern Indian international airports like Hyderabad’s and Bengaluru’s. The old and new terminals are linked and within the same building, and the old terminal will continue to receive arrivals,” said C Nagendra Prasad, chairman, Indian Association of Tour Operators Tamil Nadu Chapter.
The 65,000m2 new terminal cost US$330.1 million to construct and bumps up airport capacity to seven million passengers annually. The old international terminal has a throughput of three million per annum, according to the Airports Authority of India.
Now in the first phase of opening, four airlines are currently operating out of the terminal, namely IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, and French airline Air Austral.
“There was a need for a new terminal as traffic to Chennai airport has increased over the years. At present, around 20 million residents of Tamil Nadu state have relatives staying overseas. So, the visit-friends-and-relatives segment is fuelling demand for international trips,” commented VKT Balan, chairman and managing director, Madura Travel Service.
“We now expect an increase in the number of flights from South-east Asian countries like Malaysia.”
However, trade sources said that not all had been hunky-dory. “There are a lot of issues related to operations in the new terminal. I’ve heard that (the Airports Authority of India) is planning to rope in a private player for management,” revealed Prasad.