Salem Airport (India)
சேலம் விமான நிலையம்
|Owner||Government of India|
|Operator||Airports Authority of India|
|Elevation AMSL||1,008 ft / 307 m|
Salem airport was constructed in April 1993 at a cost of Rs. 6 Crore, covering a sprawling 136 acres extensively donated by local traders and industrialists. The airport was the first in the country built with the help of contributions from members of the public. A total of Rs. 49 lakh, including Rs. 30 lakh by Salem Steel Plant. Originally planned for Vayudoot services using small aircraft and conceived with a 1,350-metre runway, it was expanded by another 600 metres to accommodate bigger planes. Initially, NEPC Airlines operated flights on the Chennai–Salem–Coimbatore–Chennai sector using Fokker F-27 aircraft. however, the airline withdrew the service after three months citing ‘non-viability’ as its main reason. The Salem airport lay in disuse since then as no airline was willing to invest in this sector. Although the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had spruced up the airport and made it ready for operation, airlines did not show interest to fly, fearing low patronage. In 2006, Air Deccan agreed to kickstart its Salem operations but only if the local industry deposited at least Rs 90 lakh or gave a commitment for 50% bookings. Meanwhile, Air Deccan merged with Kingfisher Airlines.
After a 3-year wait and prolonged negotiations, Kingfisher airlines commenced daily flights to Chennai using its ATR aircraft on 15 November 2009. The service was withdrawn on 28 October 2011, again citing poor patronage.
Salem Airport has one runway, oriented 040/220 degrees, 6000 feet long. Its 100 by 75 metre apron is capable of handling 2 ATR aircraft, while its terminal building can cater to 100 passengers. Navigational facilities at Salem include VHF radio, PAPI and an NDB.
Flight training and pilot training centres
The excellent conditions prevailing at Salem Airport are highly suitable for flight training. Salem Airport is now the hotspot for establishment of flight training and pilot training centres in southern India. Given the state of the art infrastructure available here, it is an ideal training airport and base for aspiring pilots. The reputed air charter operator based in Salem (Salem Air) has started pilot training services. Salem Aviation Services and the Salem Flying Club operate from Salem airport. Its already a home to two flying schools based at Salem.
- Airport information for VOMM at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
- Airport information for MAA at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
- "Salem airport is all set to get a new lease of life". The Hindu. 19 August 2006. Retrieved 6 Jan 2012.
- "Salem airport back in operation after Kingfisher starts Chennai-Salem service". The Times of India. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 6 Jan 2012.
- "More flying schools land in Salem airport as commercial flights shut". The Times of India. 28 December 2011. Retrieved 6 Jan 2012.
- "AAI website".