Chennai Airport To Get New Satellite Terminal With Direct Access From NH 32, To Cater International Flights

V Bhagya Subhashini

Jun 03, 2024, 12:33 PM | Updated 12:33 PM IST

Chennai Airport's New Integrated Terminal  (X)
Chennai Airport's New Integrated Terminal (X)

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has rejuvenated its plan for a satellite terminal at Chennai Airport to cater to the growing passenger traffic. Unlike previous designs, the new plan envisions a long, elevated corridor from National Highway 32 (NH 32) to reach the terminal, bypassing the congested GST Road.

With a steady increase in aircraft movement and passenger traffic, the AAI initially proposed a satellite terminal six years ago. However, the project was shelved due to logistical challenges and land acquisition issues.

The revived plan situates the satellite terminal near remote bays in the airside area, strategically placed between the primary and secondary runways. This location is aimed at maximising the airport’s capacity within its existing footprint.

AAI officials have indicated the need for significant land to develop the facility, including the terminal itself, approach roads, connectivity infrastructure, and other ancillary facilities.

The state government was approached for land allocation. However, a recent meeting with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) revealed that land procurement costs would be prohibitively high.

To circumvent these challenges, AAI devised an alternative plan featuring an elevated corridor from NH 32. This corridor will directly link passengers to the satellite terminal entry point, reducing the need for extensive land acquisition.

"We are moving forward with the elevated corridor plan, which significantly reduces the need for large-scale land acquisition. A consultant is currently preparing a detailed project report that will specify the corridor's start and end points, along with other critical details," an AAI official stated, reports The Hindu.

The proposed elevated corridor will traverse the Adyar River, necessitating approvals from the Water Resources Department and the Central Pollution Control Board. The project report is still in its early stages, with these regulatory hurdles yet to be addressed.

The satellite terminal is intended to handle additional international flights, supported by more aero-bridges to streamline operations. "We plan to use the new terminal for international flights to enhance operational efficiency," an official confirmed.

With the second airport at Parandur still years away from completion and passenger numbers continuing to climb, expanding the current airport’s capacity and infrastructure is critical.

The initial plan to connect the satellite terminal to the existing terminal via a tunnel was deemed unfeasible due to the complexities of constructing a tunnel within an operational airport.

The new elevated corridor approach represents a practical and innovative solution to meet the growing demands on Chennai Airport’s infrastructure while minimising the logistical and financial challenges associated with land acquisition.

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

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