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Thiruvananthapuram’s new terminal opening still uncertain

Thiruvanathapuram, Oct 13 (Calcutta Tube) The Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Air India (AI) are in a blame game over the delay in opening of the new terminal of Thiruvananthapuram airport.

The AAI and AI are entrusted with the ground handling of all the airlines.

An AAI official told IANS on condition of anonymity that they were ready and the clearances required for the terminal were also in place.

‘The media has blamed us for the terminal opening delay as we have not provided space to the AI. It is not true. Because we have set aside the required space,’ said the official.

Meanwhile, AI official K.D. Sivanath told IANS that it was not fair to put the blame on the Air India.

‘Yes, there were some issues of space and it was almost sorted out,’ said Sivanath.

The terminal, with a floor area of 20,000 sq m, would be three-storied and fully air-conditioned. It would be tubular in design and have wi-fi connectivity.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone for the new terminal Nov 1, 2006 and it was scheduled to open in May this year.

Built at a cost of Rs.289 crore, the new terminal, with three aero bridges, would be able to handle around 800 passengers at a time.

Mathew George of the Kuwait Airways, new chairman of the Airline Operators’ Committee (only approved committee by the International Air Transport Association) said apart from the space, there were other issues like cargo handling and fuelling facilities that needed to be sorted out.

‘Normally everyone is eager to move into a new place, but here unfortunately it is the other way round. No one wants to move into the new terminal because facilities have still to be beefed up. In our last meeting it has become clear that it would take another six to eight weeks more to move,’ said George.

The new terminal will also introduce user development fee. Once the services are operated from the new terminal the passengers would have to bear the user fee.

Kerala Association of Travel Agents president K.V. Muraleedharan said Rs.755 would be collected from each passenger as user fee.

‘This is not acceptable because this would be a boon for the airport because when a family of four or five travel from here, they would have to pay a huge sum. It will create a problem,’ said Muraleedharan.

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