Kerala’s fourth international airport at Kannur is very close to completion, with 95% of the airside works and 90% of cityside work completed, the government said today.

Airside refers to the runway, bays, traffic control tower and so on, while city-side works refer to civilian construction components such as the parking area, approach roads and so on.

Construction of the airport is being handled by Larsen & Toubro, which won the project in late 2013. The first flight was supposed to take off by late 2015.

The airport will come up in an area of 2,000 acres about 25 km from Kannur, and will serve the Northern Kerala market, which is currently served by the Calicut airport.

The projected cost of the airport in 2013 was Rs 1,542 cr.

Unlike similar projects in other parts of India, the Kannur airport will not be operated by a private company.

Instead, a government-controlled undertaking, known as KIAL or Kannur International Airport Ltd, will own and operate the facility.

Initially, about 35% of the equity of the new company is expected to be held by the state government, 23% by the central government or public sector companies, and 26% by public sector companies in the airports sector.

The remaining 16% shares will be sold in the share market.

About 10%, or 4 mln, of Kerala’s 4 cr population is estimated to be working outside the state, with most of them in the Arabian Gulf region. The operationalization of the faciltity will make the state the only one in India to have four international airports.

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