Tiruchirappalli International Airport
Tiruchirappalli International Airport
|Owner||Ministry of Civil Aviation|
|Operator||Airports Authority of India|
|Serves||Trichy Metropolitan area with Central and Southern districts of Tamil Nadu|
|Location||Tiruchirappalli Urban, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Elevation AMSL||88 m / 290 ft|
|Statistics (April 2019 - March 2020)|
Tiruchirappalli International Airport is an international airport serving Tiruchirappalli in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is located on National Highway 336, about 5 km (3.1 mi) south of the city centre . As of FY 2019-20 it is 31st busiest airport in India for passengers handled and 34th busiest for total aircraft movement, It is the second busiest airport within Tamil Nadu in terms of total passenger traffic next to Chennai. The airport is served by three Indian and four foreign carriers providing direct connectivity to 5 domestic and 7 international destinations.The airport covers an area of 998 acres. The airport is ISO 9001:2008 quality certified and was declared an international airport on 4 October 2012.
Pre World War II
The first known history of commercial flight landing at the airport dates back to 23 December 1936 when TATA Sons, Ltd. operated an Indo-Cylone special airmail service between Madras and Colombo via Trichinopoly carrying Christmas mails connecting their regular airmail service between Karachi and Madras via Bhuj, Ahmedabad, Bombay, Hyderabad. The Special "Goodwill Flight" was operated by Miles M4A Merlin aircraft registered as VT-AHC and piloted by H.D. Barucha, the return flight to Madras via Trichinopoly occurred the next day. This flight was a precursor for the extension of their regular Karachi-Madras Airmail service till Colombo via Trichynopoly, which began operations on 28 February 1938. There are evidences of Weekly Air Mail service in operation on the Bombay-Goa-Cannore-Trivandrum-Tirchinopoly route during early 1937 which later made connection to the Karachi-Colombo Air Mail service at Trichinopoly.
World War II
During World War II, RAF Station Kajamalai was established at the airfield and used by the British Royal Air Force. The base started operating during May 1942 and until the beginning of 1944 the base was primarily used for repair and maintenance of warplanes which on landing were taken to a workshop at Ponmalai 2 km away. The airfield gained prominence during 1944 when planes were brought for calibration and other training activities also ferry flights started using the airfield. During second half of 1944, three squadrons were operating out of the airfield. At the end of war the airfield served as Staging Post and Personnel Transit Centre due to its prominent location.
|No. 20 Squadron RAF||31.07.1944||21.09.1944||Hawker Hurricane IID|
|No. 5 Squadron RAF||29.10.1944||14.12.1944||Thunderbolt I, II|
|No. 123 Squadron RAF||29.10.1944||03.12.1944||Republic Thunderbolt II|
Various units also located at the airfield during and after the war
- Nos 121, 101, and 138 Repair & Salvage Units (1942-1945)
- Air Stores/Equipment Park (1942-1945)
- No. 2 Civil Maintenance Unit (1943-1946)
- Headquarters for No. 173 Wing RAF (25 Nov 1942 - 19 Oct 1943) and No. 171 Wing RAF (1 August-8 November 1943)
- No. 1580 Calibration Flight (February 1944 - October 1945); No. 1583 Calibration Flight (to 15 Nov 1945)
- Ferry flights (April, 1944 - February, 1946)
- No. 156 Staging Post (March 1945 - April, 1946)
- No. 60 Personnel Transit Centre (September, 1945 - November, 1945)
Post World War II
When Ceylon government asked permission to operate flights between Colombo and Trichinopoly in 1947, Indian government improved the aerodrome for full functioning and allowed flight operations to Colombo in 1948. On 3 December 1948, Air Ceylon inaugurated a regular weekly commercial service between Colombo and Karachi, using a Dakota flight via Tiruchirappalli and Bombay. During 1950 Air Ceylone operated dedicated daily flights from Colombo to Tiruchirappalli via Jaffna. During 1952 Air India operated daily flights on Bombay-Madras-Tiruchirappalli-Colombo route, which was later transferred to Indian airlines operated on Madras-Tiruchirapalli-Colombo route.
Beginning in the late 1950s Tiruchirapalli was connected by domestic service with Madras, Madurai, Cochin and Trivandrum by Indian Airlines at different routings during different periods of time. During 1990's Indian Airlines started connecting Trichy with Middle East cities like Kuwait and Sharjah, during the 2000s it also connected Ras-Al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Indian Airlines operated up until it was merged with Air India. Starting Late 2000 trichy was connected with South East Asia destinations like Kulalumbur and Singapore by foreign Carriers, also Air India Express started connecting Trichy with both Middle East and South East Asian destinations.
The airport has two adjacent terminals. The original passenger terminal has been converted into an international cargo complex housing the control tower and technical block, when a modern integrated passenger terminal was built by 2009 which is currently being used for both international and domestic air traffic. Due to growing passenger traffic AAI has awarded construction of much bigger terminal on available land in southern end of the airport, it is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Integrated passenger terminal
The active integrated passenger terminal built at cost of ₹80 crore (US$11 million) was inaugurated on 21 February 2009 and started operations from 1 June 2009. The two-story terminal has a floor area of 11,777 m2 (126,770 sq ft) with handling capacity of 0.49 million passengers per annum and peak hour capacity of 470 passengers. Some of the features of the new terminal include:
- 12 check-in counters
- 4 Custom counters (1 departure + 3 arrival)
- 16 Immigration Counters (8 departure + 8 arrival)
- 3 Conveyor belts (47 m (154 ft) each)
- 1 Baggage assistance counter
- 1 Health officer counter
- 5 X-ray scanner for baggage (3 for registered baggage and 2 for hand baggage)
- 4 Security check units
- 210 CISF strength
- Total aircraft stands = 7
- 3 for code D aircraft
- 4 for code C aircraft
- 3 Aero Bridges
- Parking space for 300 vehicles
The new terminal has two lounges, VIP lounge managed by AAI and commercial important persons (CIP) lounge also managed by AAI.
The old terminal was converted into an international cargo complex at a cost of Rupees 10 million. The 4,000 m2 (43,000 sq ft) cargo complex was commissioned for operations on 21 November 2011. Out of which Export wing occupies 2,193 m2 (23,610 sq ft) and 1,750 m2 (18,800 sq ft) for Import wing. The Central Board of Excise and Customs had earlier approved and notified the airport as an air cargo complex. The one-time holding capacity of the cargo terminal is 250 metric tonnes The airport is the gateway for foreign export as there is no easy way for export from the central region of Tamil Nadu.
On 12 July 2013 the ministry of finance has notified Trichy international airport for international courier cargo movement. But the facilities for the same are yet to be set up by AAI.
On 11 October 2013, a five-metric ton capacity cold storage facility was inaugurated at the cargo section. This facility will be helpful during flight delay, flight cancellation, advance booking and holiday bookings of cargo.
On 21 April 2017, a dedicated Import Cargo facility has been created on 190 m2 (2,000 sq ft) at a cost of ₹20 lakh (US$28,000) to encourage more imports through the airport. At present the imports are very minimal as compared with the exports.
On 1 July 2017, EDI facility has been introduced at the Cargo Terminal. With this facility speedy and electronic clearance of Freight is assured eliminating the manual process, making the export process more simple. This is expected to pave way for additional commodities being exported from the airport.
|Runway Number||Length||Width||Strength (PCN)||ILS|
|09/27||2,427 m (7,963 ft)||45 m (148 ft)||68/F/A/W/T||NIL / CAT I|
|15/33 (Closed)||1,456 m (4,777 ft)||45 m (148 ft)||15/F/B/W/T||NIL / NIL|
Airport's older runway 15/33 was closed as part of early development and now used as an alternate taxiway to the apron. Re-carpeting work on the active runway 09/27 after 10 years life began on the first week of February 2020 at a cost of ₹20.00 crore (US$2.8 million). 
Apron and Taxiway
|1,2,3,4||70/R/C/W/T||B739/A321 Or Below||Concrete Surface|
|5,6,7||84/R/B/W/T||B767-200 Or Below||Concrete Surface with Aerobridges|
There are four taxiways in the airport designated as A,B,C,D. A Parallel taxiway and an Isolation bay to the active runway is under construction.
Air Traffic Control
Currently the Air Traffic Control is handled from the Old Terminal Building. AAI along with the new terminal project has proposed to construct a new Technical Block cum Air Tracffic Control Tower at the Airport. The initial proposal was to construct a 42.5 meters tall tower, which is now under proposal to be increased to 75 meters height. The new ATC tower will provide complete view of the runways and a 360-degree view of the airport.
Madras Flying Club
Madras Flying Club started during 1929 in Madras Presidency of British India, operated previously in Chennai Airport premises had to shift their operations to Trichy Airport due to congestion and operational difficulties. The Academy began its operations at Trichy Airport on 10 January 2020 where they have placed 6 training aircraft at the hangar, which previously been used by V.K.N Aviation Academy. They also have created three computer-aided smart classrooms facility in the airport. Tamil Nadu government has allocated two acres of its land adjoining to the airport for the club to setup its operational Infrastructure.
Airlines and destinations
Tiruchirapalli Airport has been undergoing expansion since 2004. The runway was extended from 1,829 m (6,000 ft) to 2,480 m (8,136 ft), apron expanded to hold 7 aircraft, fire station upgraded, a new taxiway and integrated passenger terminal were constructed.
The proposed Phase 2 expansion on 210 hectares (510 acres) by AAI includes extending the runway to 3,810 m (12,500 ft), construction of a modern air traffic control (ATC) tower, additional building complex and other works. The state government has agreed to provide land free to AAI for the expansion.
New integrated passenger terminal
Due to the consistent increase in the air traffic, the integrated passenger terminal building with a total floor area of 11,777 m2 (126,770 sq ft) to handle 470 peak-hour passengers has become insufficient. Initially it was planned to expand the existing integrated terminal by 180 meters on both sides, by constructing an additional 17,920 m2 (192,900 sq ft) area to increase the passenger handling capacity to 1075 peak-hour passengers, but later the Ministry of Civil Aviation initiated the construction of a new two-level passenger terminal at the cost of ₹951 crore (US$130 million).
The new terminal building is of size 75,000 m2 (810,000 sq ft), with capacity to handle 3.43 million passengers per year with a peak-hour handling capacity of 2,200 international and 500 domestic passengers. It will be constructed as per GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) Four Star standards. The terminal is to be constructed on the existing airport land available on the south side, for which a new four-lane elevated access road is to be created from the National Highways passing besides the airport. AAI has engaged a French company, EGIS, in partnership with the English architects Pascall+Watson, as the project managers has completed the design and plan for construction by March 2018. The tender for construction has been awarded to ITD Cementation India Pvt Ltd by August 2018, the construction works are expected to begin by November 2018 and last till September 2021.
This project includes the following
- Two-level integrated terminal building
- Parking for 750 automobiles, 250 taxis, and 10 buses
- New air traffic control tower and technical block
- New apron to accommodate 5 MARS Stands (5 E Code or 10 C Code aircraft)
- Upgrade of fire station to Category 10
- Expansion of cargo terminal
- Airport systems
- City-side development
- Rehabilitation of AAI residential colony and CISF accommodation, consisting of 118 units
The cost of the project is estimated at ₹951 crore (US$130 million)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new integrated passenger terminal at Tiruchi International Airport through video conferencing from Tiruppur on 10 February 2019.
The current runway at the airport is one of the shortest runways among all the international airports in India. Original runway was planned to be expanded in two phases. Phase 1 is completed and as part of phase 2 expansion the runway is planned to be extended to 3,200 m (10,500 ft) initially from the existing 2,480 m (8,136 ft) and later to 3,800 m (12,500 ft). AAI has sought land to the state government and once land sought for the expansion is available the extension would take place. The district administration has expressed its willingness to pay the market price for the land to be acquired. But the extension of the runway is pending for a long time due to delays in acquiring Land.
The AAI has sought around 510 acres of land for the current expansion. Of the total about 188 acres are dry land, 116 acres wetland, 164.68 acres defense land, 40.59 acres wasteland and 5.80 is with Hindu religious and Charitable Trust. To facilitate fast process on airport expansion on a joint technical advisory committee involving the departments of agriculture, public works department and revenue had been formed during 2012, which is chaired by Member of Trichy Parliamentary Constituency. Until 2019 P.Kumar chaired the meetings and currently its being chaired by Su. Thirunavukkarasar. The district administration has formed a special team comprising the airport director, revenue divisional officer, joint director of agriculture, officials of Public Works Department, and other agencies concerned to expedite the land acquisition process.
In the joint advisory committee meeting on June 17, 2017 it was announced that the State government has given administrative sanction for acquisition of land required for the proposed expansion of the runway. The State government has provided administrative sanction to acquire nearly 345.62 acres in May 2017, including dry and wet lands, besides 40 acres of government land. It has been decided to form a team to work on the exercise of land acquisition and payment of compensation. During December 2017 The Deputy Director General Defence Estates has provided in principle approval for providing 337.7 acres of land to the AAI in lieu of land of “equal value” from the State government. The District Administration is also in process of acquiring residential buildings. With this the airport expansion has gained momentum.
AAI has gone for the extension of the existing apron with construction of third Aero Bridge and ramp equipment area measuring 2,800 sq.m. at an estimated cost of ₹2.25 crore (US$320,000), which has become active in January 2019. Ministry of Civil Aviation initiated plan to expand the apron to provide two more aircraft bays, increasing the bay count to nine. Work on additional bays was started in February 2020 at an estimated cost of ₹1.00 crore (US$140,000).
In addition to this as part of new terminal construction additional apron is being constructed of 15,580 sq.m size for parking up to 10 code C aircraft type along with One Isolation Bay and GSE area including Taxi tracks, tendered during November 2017 and work started by August 2018.
Located on the Pudukottai-Trichy National Highway 336 the airport is well connected with frequent City buses to the major bus and railway terminals of the city like Central Bus Stand , Chatram Bus Stand, Srirangam and Trichy Junction. In addition to this exclusive buses were introduced to originate inside the airport premise destined to Karur, Thanjavur and Central Bus Stand.
- Air Works has line maintenance facility to conduct transit checks on Airbus A320 type aircraft, which is the second one opened by them next to their Bangalore facility. It was opened on behalf of Singapore-based Scoot for its aircraft maintenance.
- The low-cost carrier Air India Express has an engineering stores complex for service and repairs of its aircraft. It would help quick turn around. Repair works could be carried out here. Initially four licensed engineers and eight technicians are posted to meet the service and repair requirements of the aircraft. The stores would have adequate spares and equipment.
Accidents and incidents
- On December 21, 1949, Air Ceylon flight from Colombo Ratanmala to Trichinopoly via Jaffna Kankesanturai operated by Douglas DC-3 Dakota aircraft named "Sunethra Devi" and registered as VP-CAT crash landed at Trichinopoly Aerodrome. The accident was caused by engine trouble which was noticed after takeoff from Jaffna. There were no fatalities but all the three crew members along with one of the 21 passengers sustained injury. The aircraft was heavily damaged beyond any repair.
- On December 25, 1965, a non-scheduled Douglas DC-3 aircraft registered as VT-DUC met with an accident while landing at the airport due to pilot error. The aircraft had substantial damage with injuries to one passenger and two crew members.
- On May 29, 1980, Indian Airlines flight IC529, a Boeing 737-200 aircraft registered as VT-EGD, was operating on Chennai-Trichirappalli flight with 122 passengers and 6 crew members. During the landing the commander was not able to align the aircraft properly so requested and started performing go-around, during which the left wing came into contact with the runway. The flight returned to Chennai and landed safely with substantial damage to the plane which was rectified.
- On October 11, 2018, Air India Express flight IX611 to Dubai operated by Boeing 737-800 registed as VT-AYD hit the ILS system and boundary wall while taking off at 1:18 AM. The flight proceeded further over the Arabian Sea as all the systems were working fine. When the pilots learned about the damage from the airport authority the plane was diverted to Mumbai and landed safely at 5:38 AM, with no one sustaining any injuries. The fuselage had considerable tears and cracks.
Naming the airport
In 2012, a request was made to name the airport after Sir C. V. Raman, a Nobel laureate from the city. After the death of the former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, there have been requests made to rename the airport as "Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam International Airport".
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Media related to Tiruchirappalli International Airport at Wikimedia Commons