Monday, November 19, 2012

Nosing ahead

The Chennai airport has been at the receiving end of poor reviews, almost all of which are well justified. The airport is pretty much at the limit of its capacities in all forms. And rather than go in for a completely new airport - as was done at Bengaluru or at Hyderabad, Chennai opted for the revamp route. 

Ever since the first terminal was opened sixty years ago, Chennai has been reluctant to let the airport move out from this location. The original terminal - seen in the background - was referred to as the Meenambakkam airport, because that was the nearest suburban railway station. When the new terminal was built in 1985, it was no longer Meenambakkam; the railways in fact built a new station at Thirusoolam, between Meenambakkam and Pallavaram to cater to the airport goers. But try telling a Chennaiite that it should be called the Thirusoolam airport and you will be left feeling that the coals of Hades would be a refreshing, cool change.

The expansion is to be completed in 2013-14. And if current projections hold, that would be bursting at the seams by 2016-17. The TN Vision Plan for 2023 envisages a completely new airport, near Sriperumbudur, about 50km away. Even when that happens, we will still call it the Meenambakkam airport, I'm sure!

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