Chennai Airport: Lack of development

I have been wanting to write about this every time I visit the airport. And I have to warn you, this article is purely things from the mind. Things that I have read or heard sometime before.

About 20 years ago, Chennai was the hub for avionics in India next to Mumbai and Delhi. Now the traffic flow to Chennai has increased but the number of flights or the airlines that operate to Chennai has literally remained the same when all other airports are developing at a far more rapid pace. I mean the new Arrival gate at the new international terminal is yet to be opened as none of the airlines is ready to operate from it owing to technical difficulties in handling luggage at the new terminal. And passenger traffic is increasing and the existing infrastructure is not expected to handle it in next 2 years.

Chennai has a geographic advantage. Every plane that comes from the Arab to Japan or South Asia and Australia has to pass over Chennai. Chennai lies exactly over an international air corridor. Few years ago, Chennai was expected to be the hub for these connections. But owing to lack of development Singapore and Malaysia has taken up that spot as the hub for these flights. A city’s development depends upon its transportation facilities. Just like how an port is helpful to import and export products, an airport is expected to import employees into the city. And this employee is expected by many corporate companies,if we are expecting development from that side. Singapore’s growth in financial sector as a capital market in Asia is partly because of the ease of transport into the city. The city just has connection to every major city in the world and that’s the reason why companies are ready to open their R&D or financial wing there.

Like apart from weekly travellers from Britain or Paris, from where do we have a incoming traffic ? We use the airport as a way to travel out from the country in search of work. No one travel into the country to get a work. Yes. I accept that there are multiple other factors that influence the companies to open up work places here. But transportation into the city plays a major role in the decision just as a quality of life style in the city does.

About 5 years ago, government passed a resolution to construct a new airport in the city that was expected to serve as a hub even though we lost the time that we had to be the hub. But where the airport is upto come ? It is yet to be decided by the government. Reason ? State government hasn’t allotted the land that Airports Authority of India has asked to construct one.

Yes. Its hard to find a large area to construct the area that has all the nessasary facilities like transportation into the city.But as time goes on and on, other cities are gonna develop more and more than Chennai does. 4th largest Metropolitan may one day become 10th largest. It’s one of the problems the city has that hinders development. Unless we solve them, development further is highly unlikely.