With the Union Cabinet approving the construction of a Rs 24.67-billion -terminal, the Chennai airport is expected to see its passenger handling capacity going up from the current 17 million passengers per annum (mppa) to up to 35 mppa. Last year, it handled around 20.5 mppa.
AAI is awaiting clearance for the project from the State Pollution Control Board, which is expected sometime soon, to award the tender. The authority has shortlisted L&T as the successful bidder, according to sources.
The aircraft capacity is also expected to go up from the current 36 aircrafts an hour to around 42, according to senior officials from Airport Authority of India (AAI).
The total built up area of the proposed terminal building is 3,36,000 square metres. The terminal will incorporate green building features with an aim to achieve GRIHA-4 Star rating. The building would be able to handle the number of passengers projected to hit in 2026-27, said a government release.
An AAI official said that even though the current capacity is only 17 million, the airport handled 20.36 million passengers, both international and domestic, in 2017-18. This was 11 per cent growth from 18.36 million in 2016-17 while the passenger handling was at 15.22 million during the year.
The airport beefed up its manpower from 1200 employees to 1600 recently and added 18 automatic check-in machines to handle the increasing passenger traffic better.
The new terminal will be mostly for international boarding, while the terminals on either side of it will be used for domestic flights.
The passenger handling capacity will go up by 13 mppa for general operations and by 18 mppa when it during a swing operation, using part of the international capacity for domestic purposes.
The first phase of construction is expected to take around 30 to 34 months and the second phase will take 20 to 24 months.
The Chennai airport has a remote parking location, where around 40 aircrafts can be parked, but it is difficult to operate from there. The airport will construct a tunnel which will help the airport improve its aircraft capacity. This too is in the pipeline under the first phase.
In 2016, the airport was handling 32 aircrafts per hour. In 2017, the airport commissioned a taxi track, increasing its capacity to 36 aircraft per hour.
The Airport is already adding rapid-exit taxiways which would help it handle up to 42 aircraft per hour. The Airport handles around 500 aircrafts' movements every day, excluding the coast guard, defence operations and private general aviation aircraft.
The Airport reduced the user development fee from Rs 600 to below Rs 70, decreased aircraft landing and parking charges and the fuel throughput charge has been almost waived off.
Around 10 per cent of the Rs 140 billion-revenue of Airport Authority of India (AAI) comes from the Chennai Airport. The airport was profitable till last year, but the reduction in user fee and other charges may mar its profitability this year, according to a senior official. It was given a score of 4.62 of a maximum of 5 by the global benchmarking programme Airport Service Quality (ASQ) and is aiming to strike 4.8 in future.