Tamil Nadu’s Vellore airport to be operational soon
The Vellore airport in Tamil Nadu appears to be on the verge of becoming operational soon. On Sunday, a test flight conducted low-level passes over the airport facility to carry out calibration tests for the surrounding airspace.
This airport project in Vellore was initiated as part of the Union government’s UDAN regional connectivity scheme back in 2016. However, it has encountered several challenges along its journey, raising doubts about its viability.
Despite efforts to extend the runway to 850 meters and the completion of the terminal building a year ago, progress seemed to stall.
Officials from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have now confirmed the completion of ground calibration tests, with the recent focus being on air calibration.
The test involved five AAI officials, with two stationed on the ground and three aboard the aircraft. One of the key objectives was to ensure the landing lights on the runway were clearly visible from the air.
To prevent any signal interference, measures were taken to clear the area of trees, water tanks, and buildings exceeding 25 feet in height. Sources expressed optimism for a swift approval to commence operations by December this year.
It’s worth noting that the airport currently lacks a permanent control tower and relies on a mobile tower. Additionally, it has fire tenders and an ambulance on standby for emergency situations.
The airport’s perimeter is fully enclosed by fencing, and the approach road from Abdullapuram has been freshly laid, indicating expectations of increased activity at the facility.
Covering an expansive 97 acres, the airport will soon feature high-resolution lighting along its perimeter to enhance security.
Basic infrastructure, such as access roads from the Chennai-Bengaluru Highway, has been developed by acquiring private land parcels. Furthermore, a passenger waiting hall has been established near the airport’s entrance.
At present, the new airport boasts an 850-meter runway, a taxiway, ground handling equipment, air traffic control (ATC) facilities, and an aviation information receiving facility.
Additionally, it features a terminal building and an oil depot. The previously limited airstrip, which could only accommodate eight-seater planes, has been upgraded to cater to 20-seater aircraft.