A public interest litigation petition filed by N Jegatheesan, president, Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, came up for hearing before a division bench of Justices TS Sivagnanam and S Ananthi.
According to the petitioner, the airport is in a sad state. Though Rs 900 crore was sanctioned for constructing a new terminal and expand the runway several years ago, there was no sign of development till now.
Though a few international flights are operated from there, it officially remains only a customs airport even though the ones at Coimbatore and Tiruchy have been granted international airport status. The reason cited is that the airport functions only from 6 am to 10 pm, while most international flights are operated during night hours.
Though the State government slashed VAT on aviation fuel to 1 per cent from 29 per cent for flights connecting Madurai, Tiruchy and Coimbatore between 11 pm and 7 am, the airport has no advantage as it remains closed during this period.
Noting that large quantities of agriculture produce is exported from Madurai, the petition sought adequate cold storage facility and also a permanent plant quarantine officer.
Admitting the petition, the division bench directed the Union Civil Aviation Ministry to respond and adjourned the case to June.