A strong demand has been made by 12 Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu and tour operators to operate international flights from Madurai. The MPs and tour operators put forth their request in a memorandum submitted to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh last week.
The memorandum, a copy of which was released to the press, pointed out that Madurai would be a profitable venture for airlines and provide a boost to educational and employment opportunities and industrial and tourism growth in the region.
The delegation said the new 18,000 square metre airport has 16 check in, 20 immigration and seven customs counters, besides three aero bridges and baggage conveyor belts and parking for 375 cars and 10 buses. The terminal can handle four large aircraft at a time, it said.
They referred to the summer schedule which includes a new Air India flight to Dubai from Vishakhapatnam, whereas Madurai, declared a customs airport a year back, had been left out. The delegation said that the ministry should sort out the issue of bilateral arrangements for operation of flights between Gulf countries and Madurai.
Mr Singh told the delegation that the government had cleared the SpiceJet application to operate flights to Colombo from here and is exploring the possibility of operating heliports in and around the city so that people could travel by helicopter to Kanyakumari, Rameswaram and Kodaikanal.
Licences had also been given to regional carriers to provide better air connectivity for the region, he said.
The delegation also met Air India Chairman Rohit Nandan to impress upon him the potential Madurai held for international air traffic