CHENNAI: With the Central government finalising Parandur village in Sriperumbudur as the location of Chennai’s Greenfield airport, villagers in the area and the neighbourhood are shocked, as they were not informed about it.
They’re worried that the government would confiscate their land or force them to sell it to build the second airport.
Selvaraj from Parandur village said, “We’ve been here in the village for the last 50 years. As per the map released by the government, 5 villages would be destroyed for constructing a new airport. Even if the government gave us compensation for our land, we don’t know what to do for a living, since we know only farming. All of us are shocked by this decision and are planning for a big protest soon. Even last month, the district collector assured us that the airport would not be constructed in Parandur.”
However, official sources with the Chennai airport see the announcement as a game changer. In 2019, the airport reached the landmark of handling 500 flight operations in a single day. However, after the 2020 lockdown, operations decreased. Now, the passenger footfall has bounced back to the pre-Covid levels, despite reduction in number of flights.
Officials elaborate as around 400 flights are being operated daily and the passenger footfall is around 35,000 to 40,000. If the 500 flights are operated the passenger footfall will reach an all-time high. So, the second airport was much required especially since the Chennai airport cannot handle a large crowd and cannot be extended further.
“Airport extension work in Tirusulam is going on but even that wouldn’t be enough to handle more passengers during peak hours. A second airport will decrease congestion at Chennai airport and it will ease up traffic congestion in the near the airport,” sources added.
They also said that the new airport would have two bigger runways than the Chennai international airport to handle bigger aircrafts with a seating capacity of over 600.
“Currently, the Chennai airport cannot handle the landing and departure of bigger aircrafts since both runways don’t have the required amount of length and infrastructure. So, this would take aviation to the next level in Chennai,” they pointed out.
The new airport will be located within 15 km from the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway. The news became official on Monday.
“We’re happy with the news that a second airport is being constructed in our district, as this would rapidly improve the infrastructure of Sriperumbudur. The roads will be laid, and the area will have a look like the city,” said former AIADMK MLA Walajabad Ganesan.