Maximising on customer satisfaction, Calicut International Airport is aptly maintaining a steady growth in passenger statistics with advancements in its infrastructure
Calicut, the Gateway to Malabar, serves to the cities and districts of Kasargod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad, Palakkad and Thrissur. Also dubbed as the ‘City of Spices’ for its role as the major trading point of Indian spices, it was the landing spot for the Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea, Vasco da Gama, at Kappad in May 1498.
The major attractions of this place have been derived from its geographical characteristics with the surrounding hillocks, lush green terrains and attractive pristine beaches. Situated 410 km north from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, a number of rivers, which find their origin from the Sahyadri, run along the outer reaches of the city. These include the Chaliyar Puzha, Kallayi Puzha, Korapuzha River, Poonoor Puzha (River) and Iravanjhi Puzha.
History & Development
The Calicut International Airport is situated on the top of a hill surrounded by a lush green valley in a land spread of 378.45 acres. It started domestic operations on April 13, 1988 and international operations on February 15, 1992. Calicut Airport was accorded the International Airport Status on February 2, 2006.
With an aim of serving passengers with par excellence, the Calicut International Airport has been operating on a 24 hours basis since October 26, 2003. It is also a Hajj Embarkation point besides being ISO certified airport. With a Terminal Building of 26,800 sq. mt. and with a table top runway of length 2,700 mt, the airport falls in the category of 4D.
The airport is equipped with all ground lighting facilities and navigational aids for safe landings. Catering to safe operations, Calicut International Airport has surveillance aids like Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) too.
The airport facilitates numerous benefits to the passengers that include Child Care Rooms, VIP-Lounges, CIP-Lounges, Duty-Free Shops, besides a host of other commercial attractions.
The passenger statistics (table below) indicate variation in the international passenger traffic and the domestic passenger traffic over the years, and it is quite evident that much of the traffic revenue is generated through international passengers. Calicut International Airport is the 2nd busiest in International Passenger Traffic movement among all the Airports Authority of India (AAI) managed airports after Chennai, while it is ranked 7th among all airports in the country. There has been a steady growth in the passenger statistics from 2011-12 to 2014-15 till the time the airport was catering to the wide-bodied aircraft operations.
There was a dip in the passenger traffic during 2015-16 due to the suspension of wide-bodied aircraft operations. The passengers travel requirements on the domestic flight sectors were reworked and connectivity was established with major domestic hubs like Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kochi. The domestic passenger traffic post this period witnessed tremendous growth and by 2018-19, the Calicut International Airport was thriving in all its glory with the resumption of wide-bodied aircraft operations effective from December 5, 2018, fulfilling the demands of international passengers, especially for Hajj pilgrimage.
About 80 per cent of passengers travelling via the Calicut International Airport range from corporates to leisure travellers, especially to the Middle East. The airport is constantly developing an in-depth understanding of the customer profile as it is important in planning and maximising its performance in terms of customer service, customer satisfaction, sales and airport revenue.
In 2018-19, Gulf Air operations to Bahrain, Saudia operations to Riyadh and Jeddah and Fly Dubai operations to Dubai commenced from Calicut Airport. Saudia started its operations from December 2018 to Jeddah and Riyadh with A333 aircraft reinstating the wide-bodied aircraft operations.
New Initiatives Taken
The Calicut International Airport has undertaken several initiatives for the betterment of operations at the airport:
The reinstatement of wide-bodied aircraft operations was done after the completion of compatibility study and safety assessment and grant of No Objection Certificate by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
With the re-commencement of wide-body flight operations, the Hajj Flight operations, which were suspended in 2015, will be reintroduced in 2019.
• Air India and Emirates will be restarting operations from the airport.
• A brand new restroom on the city side, for the visitors, was inaugurated on January 26, 2019.
• The airport has been declared ‘Single-Use Plastic Free Zone’.
• Sanitary napkin vending machines have been installed for personal hygiene.
• Executive Lounges have opened in the International Terminal.
Commissioning of New International Arrival block (NIAB)
The New International Arrival Building (NIAB) occupying an area of 17,000 sq.m. along with Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBB) and Advanced Visual Docking Guidance System was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, Shri. Justice (Retd.) Palanisamy Sathasivam in February 2019. With the commissioning of the New International Arrival Block, the arriving passengers can be served better with new state-of-art facilities incorporated both technically and structurally. The New Arrival Block is equipped with five conveyor belts, one of which is a jumbo belt. Two new Passenger Boarding Bridges were inaugurated on the same day connecting the New International Arrival Block, fulfilling the requirements of airlines and enhancing passenger facilitation. Also, 38 Immigration Counters and 20 Customs Counters are present exclusively to cater to the requirements of the arriving passengers at the airport.
With more passengers anticipated to land and take off from the Calicut International Airport, the airport authorities have some plans in pipeline to enhance passenger experience:
• The State Government has been requested to acquire and hand over 137 acres of land on the other side of the runway for construction of a new Terminal Building.
• Requirement of 15.25 acres of land on the city side is projected to State Govt. for car parking so to ease out the traffic congestion at the airport premises.
• Eestablishment a Common User Domestic Air Cargo Terminal (CUDCT) for domestic cargo.
• The Calicut International Airport envisages direct connectivity to Kolkata and Mangaluru, in addition, to reinstating the direct connectivity to Hyderabad.
• As part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) round 2, non-stop flight operations to and from New Delhi are expected to commence in the Summer Schedule ‘2019.
• Same day flight connectivity between Calicut and Thiruvananthapuram is requested for consideration under RCS-3.
• Initiatives are being taken to further enhance air connectivity to different destination segments, especially South-East Asian countries and far East Asian countries.
Auguring the goodwill
The Civil Aviation Industry in India has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries in the country during the last three years and to get along with the expectations and requirements of the travellers, the Calicut International Airport will always be on the track of modernisation to keep in line with the expectation of its passengers. The Calicut International Airport will certainly keep up the pace in uplifting of passenger facilities at par with international standards and augur the goodwill of both domestic and international passengers travelling through this airport.