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Friday, May 7, 2010

We will make Kochi airport the aviation hub in India, says CIAL MD

C.G. Krishnadas Nair, managing director of CIAL, has been credited with changing the fortunes of Kochi airport. Photo: KK-AKM 

By Anantha Krishnan M.
Aviation Week, Mannar, India

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has finally given the aviation world something to cheer about by exceeding the Rs 100 crore ($22.3 million) mark in profits for the first time despite the economic slowdown. AVIATION WEEK spoke with C.G. Krishnadas Nair, managing director of CIAL, after spending two days with airport officials and visiting the facilities. These are excerpts from the first of a series of interviews that AVIATION WEEK is planning with various India aerospace and defense newsmakers.
 1. The Kochi airport is back in the news again with a series of projects being put on the takeoff mode. What has prompted this sudden spurge of activities?
 C.G.K.N.: We are working on a firm plan and all that what you have seen is the result of some serious brainstorming sessions by a group of individuals who have enough expertise in the field of aviation. CIAL is the first initiative in a public/private partnership (PPP), and our philosophy is to launch low cost and high quality programs for the airport. The projects that are taking off one after the other are a testimony to the confidence we have in the future growth of this airport.
 2. The airport got its international status in 2000. When you look back, what are the major achievements in the last 10 years?
C.G.K.N.: My association with CIAL is just two years old and there have been many before me who put their best foot forward to get things going. Among the major achievements in the last 10 years could be the following: extension of the international terminal, parallel taxi link, relaying of runway, a center for perishable cargo (CPC), the CIAL Aviation Academy and the launch of the first phase of the 18-hole golf course. In addition to this, we have put in additional counters, upgraded the comfort levels for the passengers and set up a communication wing inside the airport.
3. What does the future hold for this airport?
C.G.K.N.: The MRO facility will go live by December this year. It would contribute immensely to the fortunes of this airport. The location is ideal with adequate human resources in place. The line maintenance will commence shortly and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given us the go-ahead for narrow-bodied aircraft. We are all set to finalize the MRO partner. With the trade fair center, shopping mall and five-star hotel facilities in place, this would truly become an aviation hub in India and a gateway to Kerala.
4. Will the creation of the special economic zone (SEZ) help CIAL’s fortunes immensely?
C.G.K.N.: It would, as it is time for an airport-based SEZ in India. Both the central and state governments have cleared it. We are keen to bring all airport-related activities under one umbrella. This would have a direct and positive impact on exports. In addition, we are inviting Indian and overseas companies to set up their units in CIAL’s industry park. These units could provide services such as aircraft and engine components, repair and overhaul of aircraft wheels, brakes and propellers, storage and distribution of aircraft materials and spare parts and many more. The idea is to think smart and act smarter.
5. Finally, are you confident that CIAL could rise to the top and become the best airports in India?
C.G.K.N.: Why not? Now we are the fourth largest airport in India in terms of international passengers and we are sure to improve that standing in the future. The connectivity to highway, sea and rail links will further word toward the airport’s advantage once all the ongoing projects take a complete shape. No question of missing the bus. We are at it.


This interview first appeared in AVIATION WEEK

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