With the inauguration of the Kannur airport on Sunday, Kerala has become the first state in the country to have four international airports.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan jointly flagged off the inaugural Air India Express flight carrying 186 passengers to Abu Dhabi.
With the commissioning of the airport, the state has become the first in the country to have four international airports, with Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode being the other three.
The airport depicts not only cultural traditions of Malabar and Kannur, but also of Kodagu in neighbouring Karnataka. Mural paintings depicting the heritage of Malabar and Indian dance forms, including Theyyam of north Kerala, Kathakali and Yakshagana, the traditional theatre art form of Karnataka, are among the art works that vie for attention at the airport.
Speaking at the inaugural function, Prabhu said the commissioning of the greenfield airport was expected to pave way for the state’s overall development and prosperity, especially the northern region.
The Kannur airport, built on a public-private partnership (PPP) mode, will become a new benchmark of how airports will be constructed in the country. The airport will help the non-resident Keralites (NRKs), especially in the Gulf region, besides boosting tourism and exports, which will result in several job opportunities, Prabhu said.
The minister also wanted the airport to use green power as it would result in economic savings. India already has about 100 airports and, in 10-15 years, another 100 would be added, he said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hailed the support of the minister in fulfilling the state’s dream project. Vijayan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response was also positive when he had met him as part of bringing foreign carriers to the airport.
The Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party have boycotted the function. The UDF is miffed as former chief minister Oommen Chandy was not invited.