Come 2011, Kolkata and Chennai will boast of the most modern airports in the country.
The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs on Thursday approved the much-awaited proposals for modernisation of both the airports.
The spruce up of these two metro airports will be carried out an estimated cost of Rs 3,750 crore.
After modernisation, the Kolkata airport would be equipped to handle 24 million passengers a year, while Chennai airport can handle 17 million passengers per annum.
Following stiff resistance from the state governments of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu the Centre decided to hand over development of Kolkata and Chennai to Airports Authority of India (AAI).
This is unlike Delhi and Mumbai airports, which are being upgraded through public private partnership.
“These airports will be on par with the world-class airports coming up in Delhi and Mumbai. The AAI can create these two airports into model airports that can compete with the private sector. They can even compete in the international arena," Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters.
Patel said, Kolkata airport would be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 1,942.51 crore, and Chennai would cost Rs 1,808 crore. The Kolkata airport upgradation exercise is expected to be complete in 30 months, while the timeline for the Chennai airport modernisation is 26 months.
“The initial investment of up to 80 per cent for these two airports will be through internal accruals and the remaining amount will be through commercial borrowings. But I am sure the AAI will be able to do it (the upgrade of these two airports) through its own resources,” Patel said.
AAI would invest Rs 1,554 crore or 80 per cent of the Kolkata project cost through its own resources and Rs 1,446.4 crore (80 per cent) for the Chennai airport.