Soon Madurai airport will see an international flight taking off from its runway. The schedule, submitted by the Mihin Lanka Airlines, a low-cost carrier based in Sri Lanka, to operate between Colombo and Madurai has been accepted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The airline is expected to commence its thrice-a-week service (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) on the Madurai-Colombo sector in the first week of September.
“The AAI has accepted the schedule proposal submitted by the Mihin Airlines to fly between Colombo and Madurai three days a week. If everything goes well, the service between Colombo and Madurai will commence in the first week of September,” said K Sankiah Pandian, airport director.
International air connectivity for Madurai is a long-pending demand and the move to establish the counters began immediately after the Madurai airport got the customs status in 2011. “After getting the customs status, we immediately finished the work of establishing customs counters and international passenger bay in the airport. The work of the emigration counter is the only one pending now,” he said.
However, talking to TOI, Virudhunagar MP Manica Tagore, who with the Madurai chapter of the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry took initiative in materialising international service from Madurai airport, said the home minister has agreed to open the emigration counter soon. “I just met home minister P Chidambaram. He has agreed to open the emigration centre in the Madurai airport soon,” said Tagore.
The flight will depart from Colombo on 2.20pm and reach Madurai at 3.20pm. In the return direction, it will depart from Madurai at 4.15pm and reach Colombo at 5.15pm as per the tentative flight schedule of Mihin Lanka Airlines. An Airbus A-321 type aircraft with a capacity of 200 passengers is planned to be operated in the sector.
The airport was established in 1957 and a new swanky terminal was inaugurated in 2009 sprawling across 189,000 sq ft. (Times of India)