"Eighteen months back, we were handling 28 movements per hour (at Chennai) and after making improvements in our air navigation system, we hope to reach 40. With this, we expect we will be managing Chennai till 2030 or 2035. But a city like Chennai will definitely require a second airport thereafter," Mohapatra told reporters.
According to a study carried out by aviation think-tank Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), Chennai handled 18.4 million passengers in 2016 and is expected to reach its maximum capacity of 23-26 by 2020, if traffic grows at an estimated rate of 12.5 per cent.
The CAPA adds that while there are plans to expand capacity to 30 million passengers per year at Chennai airport, airside (hangars, runway, parking bay) constraints could pose a big challenge.
The think-tank estimates an expenditure of $500 million for a second airport in Chennai.
Mohapatra said that a decision will be taken later on whether the second airport will be a greenfield airport (new airport on unsused land) developed on public private partnership model or whether it will be developed by the AAI.
Another city that will need a second airport is Kolkata and the West Bengal government has suggested the Durgapur airport as an option.
But Mohapatra added that Durgapur is at a fair distance from Kolkata and many airlines have not shown interest in the airport so far and, therefore, the Centre has asked the state government to explore another location.
The Centre is also exploring land pool model of infrastructure development as an alternative to land acquisition.
"That is the way forward to plan airports in the future," the AAI Chairman said.
The civil aviation ministry has proposed this model to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for developing new airports in the state.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)