Calicut International Airport (IATA: CCJ, ICAO: VOCL), also known as Karipur Airport, is an international airport serving the cities of Kozhikkode and Malappuram in Kerala, India. It is located in Karipur, about 25 km (16 mi) from Malappuram and 28 km (17 mi) from Kozhikode. The airport serves as an operating base for Air India Express. It is the twelfth busiest airport in India in terms of overall passenger traffic. It is the third busiest airport in Kerala after Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. It was given international airport status on 2 February 2006.
Calicut airport gained its sanction after a long period of struggle, which began in 1977, under the leadership of freedom fighter late K.P. Kesava Menon. In the 1990s, Gulf Malayalis played an important part in the development of the airport - they collected funds for the purpose, when the Union Government said it did not have funds. This led to the inception of, the Malabar International Airport Development Society, which helped raise funds for the airport's development. Consequently, major developments of facilities, such as extension of runway from 6,000 feet to 9,000 feet to facilitate operation of big-bodied aircraft, were carried out, with loans from HUDCO.
It received the status of an international airport on February 2, 2006, which led to development in its infrastructure, for handling the operation of international flights from its terminal. It holds the distinction of being the 12th busiest airport in India, and 11th in cargo handling, in terms of its passenger traffic.
A 15,000 m2 (160,000 sq ft) international terminal has been opened to passengers, similar to the spacious modern international departure terminal that became operational on 14 May 2007. Five conveyor belts have been installed at the arrival terminal. The approach to Calicut airport runway is surrounded with hills and valleys. The approach funnel area of the runway 28 is a 30 m (98 ft) to 70 m (230 ft) deep undulated valley up to a distance of 6,000 m (20,000 ft), immediately following the tabletop runway of 2,860 m (9,380 ft) long. This terrain needs a special type of approach guidance lighting system to enhance safety for aircraft operations both during night and poor visibility conditions. Airports Authority of India have provided runway lead-in lighting system for the first time in India at Calicut airport as per the recommendations of the DGCA.
Since 1 May 2015, the airport was closed to wide body aircraft, such as Boeing 777 and 747, for a period of six months. This is due to runway re-carpeting, which has been long overdue at this airport. Emirates, Saudia and 2 Air India flights have shifted operations temporarily to Cochin International Airport during this time.
On 17 January 1969, Douglas C-47A VT-DTH of Hindu Publications crashed on take-off. The aircraft was operating a cargo flight. Both crew were killed.That time the airport had been initialized as an air strip at "Chelari", a few Kilometers away from the current location.
On 7 November 2008 an Air India Airbus 310 flight AI 962 flying from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, scraped its right wing tip on the runway on landing. Certain parts of the plane's wing broke leaving a mark on the runway.
On 9 July 2012 an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 skidded on landing, during heavy rain. The aircraft's landing gear impacted with runway beacons breaking them. There were no casualties on board.
On 10 June 2015 An argument between the personnel of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) staff at the Calicut international airport in Kozhikode escalated into a gun battle, leading to one person's death and serious injuries to two others late on Wednesday night.