Kerala has engaged a Central public sector company to assess the impact of the proposed Sabarimala greenfield airport on all the existing civil airports within 150 km of it, including the Madurai airport in Tamil Nadu. The Sabarimala airport has received ‘no objection’ from the Ministry of Defence.
Speaking to The Hindu, S. Harikishore, MD of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), the nodal agency for the proposed airport project, said the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had given permission to the KSIDC to carry out the impact assessment and to get the data vetted by engaging a third party.
Eco, social impact
The Central PSU will submit the impact assessment report by the end of this month. It will then be submitted to the Civil Aviation ministry to get approval for the site meant for the airport. The KSIDC has also been simultaneously conducting environmental impact assessment and social impact assessment, the reports of which are expected to be ready by August. This will enable the State to get into full-fledged land acquisition procedures, said Mr. Harikishore.
Mainly, the airport’s economic impact on the neighbouring airports would be assessed. It should be ensured that the new airport will not affect the traffic and growth of the other three airports — Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Madurai. Secondly, the new airport should not pose any risk since it is operating within an aerial distance of 150 km from another airport. Mostly, modern navigation and communication devices and operational procedures ensure that there is no risk even if two airports operate within a small aerial distance.
According to the Greenfield Airports Policy (GFA) policy, normally a greenfield airport will not be allowed within an aerial distance of 150 kilometres of an existing airport. If a second airport is allowed in the close vicinity, the parameters for the distribution of traffic between the two airports should be clearly spelt out.