Thiruvananthapuram, December 10: Kerala has been very intuitive in terms of adopting new techniques of innovation and development. Adding another feather in the cap of state’s first of its kind, Kerala becomes the first state to have four international airports. With the inauguration of the Kannur airport on Sunday, Kerala has in total four operational international airports.
The 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, at the airport near Mattannur town. The state has three international airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. With this Kannur airport, Kerala has made it to the top claiming the first position.
The new airport oozes out not only cultural traditions of Malabar and Kannur, but also includes traditions of Kodagu in neighboring 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, Union Minister Suresh 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.
The minister pointed 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.
"The Centre is also preparing an integrated logistics plan to fast-track movement of goods and cut transactions cost of business and we are actively working with Kerala government on this," Prabhu, who is also the commerce and industries minister, added.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hailed the support of the minister in fulfilling the state's dream project. CM 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 effective interventions of everyone has helped the airport become a reality now," he said, adding that Kannur was the second airport in which the state government has a stake.