Monday, October 20, 2008

kannur airport project will commence from mid-2009

The process of acquiring land in Kannur for the Kannur Airport is fast progressing .
2,008 acres of land will be needed for the project and 1,092 acres of land will be acquired by the end of January.
Of the total investment, 74 per cent will come from private participation, which will be invited through bids and Work on the proposed project will commence from mid-2009.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What is Greenfield Airport ? Example kannur airport


Greenfield Airport means a new airport which is built from scratch in a new location because the existing airport is unable to meet the projected requirements of traffic.The word greenfield originates from software engineering, meaning a project which lacks any constraints imposed by prior work. Those projects which are modified or upgraded from existing facilities are called brownfield project

Procedural guidelines for setting up of Greanfield Airport
Policy Framework
1. Airport Infrastructure Policy of 1997 provides the following:-
§ In view of the fact that there are already a sufficient number of airports, many of which are not viable, greenfield airports will
normally not be taken up either in the public or private sector without the prior approval of the Government. In the case of the Other Airport category run by private operators, the approval of the DGCA would suffice as at present.
§ A greenfield airport may be permitted where an existing airport is unable to meet the projected requirements of traffic or a new focal point of traffic emerges with sufficient viability. It can be allowed both as a replacement for an existing airport or for simultaneous operation. This aspect will have to be clearly spelt out in the notice inviting tenders.
§ No greenfield airport will normally be allowed within an aerial distance of 150 kilometers of an existing airport. Where it is allowed as a second airport in the same city or close vicinity, the parameters for distribution of traffic between the two airports will be clearly spelt out.
§ The Government may, while permitting a greenfield airport, decide whether it will be in the public or private sectors or be taken up as a joint venture.
§ Where the Government decides to set up a greenfield airport through the AAI on social considerations even though the same is not economically viable, suitable grant-in-aid will be provided to AAI to cover both the initial capital cost as well as the recurring losses.
2. Promoters
The Central Government, Airports Authority of India, State Government, a local self Government Institution e.g. Municipality,
Corporation etc., a private company, a consortium or a group of individuals can act as the promoter for the greenfield airport either
individually or jointly.
3. Pre-feasibility Study Stage
The promoter, after preliminary clearance of Ministry of Civil Aviation on his proposal in the first instance, will commission a pre-feasibility report to study the overall potential of the project and see whether the project is attractive enough to warrant detailed study. The study should cover demand, technical, manpower, financial, economic and social modules of the project. The study may also utilize secondary research and information. The promoter shall submit the prefeasibility report to the Ministry for further approval. The cost of the pre-feasibility will be borne by the promoter.
4. Detailed Feasibility Study Stage
Based on study of pre-feasibility report, the promoter shall again approach the Central Govt. for preliminary clearance of undertaking a detailed Techno-Economic Feasibility Study (TEFS). The Central Govt. after due examination of all modules of pre-feasibility study will determine whether the project shows promise of meeting the financial, economic and social criteria which have been set for public investment expenditure. In case, the Govt. find it appropriate, it may permit the promoter to take up detailed TEFS. Approval Based on the TEFS and State Government/Promoters’ recommendations, the Central Government will consider giving approval for the airport project as per the extant policy. The approval will be given by the Union Cabinet as per the Civil Aviation Policy. The Central Government after approval will then go ahead to develop detailed design of the project which should then result in formulation of operational plan. At this stage, the project can once again be reviewed whether it shall meet required criteria.
9. Project Implementation Stage
5
A Steering Committee is set up by State Govt. / promoter comprising of officials of the State Govt. and the Ministry of Civil Aviation as this stage involves coordination and allocation of resources. This Committee will oversee the implementation of the project, funding proposal, preparation of tender and other documents, bidding and selection of the preferred investor. The State Govt./ promoter will designate an agency preferably a PSU to coordinate the activities and assumes responsibilities and authority for moving ahead in areas related to the above.
10. Setting up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) The State Govt./ promoter shall set up a SPV wholly owned buy it to begin with. Later, on the selection of successful bidders, the private investor will be inducted in the SPV with 74% equity shares 11.Public Private Partnership (PPP) Model
The State Government as a primary promoter may consider joint venture (JV) with private investors through Public Private Partnership Model (PPP). In case it proposes to have a joint venture with private promoters, it shall be the primary responsibility of the State Government to choose private sector partners through a transparent competitive bidding process subject to the guidelines on foreign equity participation. 12.State Govt./ AAI may also participate in the JV with equity which will be limited to 13% each (Rs. 50 crores cap or 13%, whichever is lower in case of AAI)
13. Bidding Process
The Joint Venture Partner / Greenfield Operator shall be selected by the State Govt. through a transparent competitive bidding process based on technical and financial criteria. While inviting bids from prospective bidders by the State Govt./ promoters, the draft Concession Agreement (CA), Shareholder Agreement (SHA), State Support Agreement (SSA), Land Lease Agreement (LLA), (CNS/ATM) Agreement, principles of Finance Agreement, principles of Airport Operator Agreement along with format of commitment from lenders regarding debt/ equity will be furnished to the pre-qualified bidders. Before inviting technical and financial bids, these documents will be frozen in consultation with Pre- Qualified Bidders (PQBs).
14. Selection Criteria
It may be divided into technical and financial criteria. The technical criteria may include financial, development and management abilities. A broad list of these will be made part of the bid documents. The financial criteria could be the minimum bid for State Support and viability gap funding or maximum concession fee.
15. The successful bidder inducted into SPV through SHA shall use the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for realizing and operationalizing the project implementation.
16. Viability Enhancement :- The greenfield airport project can be made
viable by following means:-(i) Land and external infrastructure provided by the State Government for the airport on lease through Land Lease Agreement with variety of combinations such as token lease, moratorium on lease, deferred payment of lease etc.
(ii) The State Government may enter into a State Support Agreement in addition to Land Lease Agreement with the greenfield airport operator providing for State Support such as grant, infrastructure loan, interest free loan etc.
(iii) Central Government may levy an Advance Development Fee (ADF) from embarking passengers at the existing airport or for the development of new airport on terms and conditions as per ADF rules framed by the Ministry.
(iv) The Greenfield airport operator may be allowed to levy a User Development Fee (UDF) at the new airport, subject to the Regulatory regime in force.
(v) Aeronautical Charges may be leviable at the airport shall be as approved by the Govt./ Regulator.
(vi) The Passenger Service Fees (PSF) levied at all airports would be applicable to the Greenfield airports also. ADF / UDF would be charged in addition to the PSF. PSF being levied through passenger tickets will have two components viz. (a) Security charges, (b) levy for Airport Maintenance and Upkeep. The PSF components collected through airline passenger tickets will be passed on by the airline to AAI as far as security component is concerned and the Greenfield operator for service component.
(vii) Concessions have also been given by the Union Govt. through budget pronouncement from time to time.
17. While Security will be the responsibility of the Central Govt. {through AAI / Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)}, the airport operator will be required to provide security equipments, operate and maintain as per standards laid down by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS),and meet the costs thereof.
18. Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) / Air Traffic Management (ATM) equipment along with allied infrastructure required for Greenfield airport will be provided by Airports Authority of India (AAI) at its cost and the revenue from (RNFC)/ (TNLC) accrue to AAI directly. The greenfield operator will provide ATC tower, required buildings/ office accommodation, utilities on payment of rental on mutually agreed terms. The State Govt./ Operator will also earmark land for a residential colony for CNS/ATM personnel. The colony will be developed by AAI at its own cost. The Greenfield airport operator will sign a CNS / ATM agreement with AAI in this regard wherein AAI will commit performance standards also in terms of aircraft movement per hour.
19. If the selected Greenfield airport operator wants to take initiative in developing business strategies through traffic building at the airport, the Central Government may consider giving positive support keeping in view the overall bilateral requirements also as per the Civil Aviation Policy.
20. The airport operator would be allowed to optimize the use of land subject to the applicable land rules and regulations of the State Government on land use and encouraging non-aeronautical revenues. In this context, the concept of developing the entire area with an integrated approach, may be encouraged. While the land given by State Govt. may be used to raise non-aero revenue, the JVC and the State Govt. will ensure that the airport does not assume real estate . Hence, the land leased out will be first used for full length aero development over the concession period. Only the residual land will be subject to non-aero exploitation for those activities which are directly related with passengers, cargo, air transport industry/ services etc.
21. Landing, parking, housing charges will accrue to the airport operator.
22. The airport operator will provide requisite space and facilities for regulatory agencies like Customs, Immigration, Health, Plant and Animal Quarantine, Security and State Governments on terms and conditions as per CA.
23. The JVC while providing healthy corporate governance, will ensure that major contracts are awarded through a competitive bidding process, arm length method for related parties transaction and achieve the best value
of money for JVC through a mechanism of independent engineer, auditors etc. The EPC Contract of the JVC shall also be awarded
through transparent and competitive procedures by the JVC.
24. The Center/ State Governments in due course will evolve following model agreements for the purposes of selection of JV partner through a competitive bidding process:-
(i) CA (ii) SHA (iii) SSA (iv) LLA (v) CNS-ATM
25. The sequence of signing agreements will generally be as follows:-
(i) SHA amongst shareholders at the time of induction in SPV
(ii) stands deleted
(iii) EPC contract process to firm up costs by SPV
(iv) Selection of financial arranger and finalization of landing conditions by SPV
(v) Financing Agreements
(vi) Direct Agreements of lenders with GOI
(vii) The work begins

Kerala Govt to float company for Kannur Airport

The Government of Kerala is in the process of floating a company for the development of Kannur Airport. The airport will be developed on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) basis. Currently, the government is in the process of identifying strategic partners for the development. The partners will then be made a part of the Joint Venture company. It has identified about 2,000 acres for the development of the airport and is in the process of completing the final processes of acquisition. The proposal for development of the airport received an ‘in principle’ clearance from the Central Government in February this year.

The government will own 26 per cent of the project while the rest will be owned by the strategic partner of the company or a consortium who will be selected through a bidding process. Speaking exclusively with TravelBiz Monitor, V Thulasidas, Special Officer, Kannur Airport said, “We plan to complete the land acquisition process and the registration of the company by January 2009. Post this, the government will initiate the bidding process for private partners.” The airport built on a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) model and will be developed by the private partner. Details on the structure and requirements of the airport will be decided by the government in discussion with the interested parties in the pre – bid conference, informed Thulasidas. The government is currently in the process of appointing consultants for assisting the project. C P Krishnan Nair, Chairman, Hotel Leelaventure Limited, confirmed the Expression of Interest of Hotel Leelaventure Limited to the Kerala state government to develop the Kannur Airport.

The 2,000-acre plot will consist of the airport and other non-aeronautical business projects to be decided by the private partner. “Possible avenues of earning like the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility will be considered by the state government and the partner. However, the break even will decide on the implementation of the additional facilities,” stated Deepak Shastri, Airport Director, Calicut International Airport. The additional facilities are expected to be developed in phases. “The government will be able to elaborate on the non-aeronautical business projects for the airport by mid-2009,” stated Dr Venu V, Secretary, Kerala Tourism. “Etihad Airways has expressed interest to develop MRO facility along with gaining equity participation at the Kannur Airport. The approval will be dependent on the bidding process,” added Shastri.

With the Kerala government keen to develop North Kerala as a tourism circuit, its move to fast track the process of development of the Kannur Airport will be considered an effective move in that direction. Hotel Leelaventure’s interest in the project also comes in tune with the development of the Group’s hotel at Lake District along with a catering school.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leela Group still interested in Kannur airport project

Capt. C.P. Krishnan Nair, Chairman of Leela Group, Mumbai, said that he was still keenly interested in investing in the proposed Kannur airport if it was envisaged as a built-own-operate (BOO) project.



His proposal for investment in the airport project was still before the Central and the State Governments. ``BOO route is the most expeditious route,'' he said in response to the State's reported preference of the Nedumbassery model. Asked if he would invest if the Kannur airport was to be developed on the model of the Nedumbassery airport, he said that he had to think about it.

``My stand is that Kannur should not be denied an airport just because there is no one to come forward to invest'', he said. He said Rs.650 crores of investment was initially required for developing the airport. For a private entrepreneur, there were so many obstacles in the Nedumbassery model. He had assured the Government that he could pay back the money it would spend for acquiring land for the airport.

Reiterating that Kannur district needed an airport, Capt. Krishnan Nair said that Kannur was among the eight best textile centres in the country. An international airport here would give a boost to the development of the entire region, he added.

He said the country was in need of more airports as the inflow of foreign tourists into the country had grown from one million to five million a year.

He said the proposed site for the airport near Mattannur had enough land for the development of a 13,000-foot runway and aircraft maintenance facility. The Leela Group had brought nearly 20 aviation experts here to study the feasibility of the project, he said
Capt Nair in world's top 50 senior business chief list
Captain C P Krishnan Nair
Captain C P Krishnan Nair
Captain C P Krishnan Nair, chairman of the Leela group of hotels, has joined the league of world business barons like Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, George Soros and former Fed chief Alan Greenspan.

In fact, Capt Nair features in the list of world’s top 50 septuagenarian business chiefs compiled by the US-based Businessweek. Keshub Mahindra and KP Singh are the other two who have made to the prestigious list from India.

Capt Nair joined the hospitality business when he was 65. He started his business with a single property in Mumbai — The Leela. Now it’s an empire that boasts of four luxury hotels in Goa, Kovalam in Kerala, the Leela Palace in Bangalore, besides the Leela in Mumbai.

The group is also planning hotels in Udaipur, Chennai, Delhi, Pune, and is look-ing at another property in Mumbai. He has also signed an MoU with the Kerala government for an airport project in Kannur.

A globetrotter at the age of 86, Capt Nair sums it up by saying: “My sons and grand daughters are now with me to realise my dream.”

Kannur airport project works gaining momentum

The groundwork for the proposed Kannur airport has begun gaining momentum with the Kerala Government announcing that acquisition of the 1,200 acres notified for the project would be completed by December.

The project, expected to provide the much-needed fillip to all-round growth of the economically backward north Malabar region of Kerala is proposed to be developed on a build, operate and own basis.

Having acquired 200 acres, survey works for procuring 1,000 acres on a fast-track basis for the project near Mattannur here has begun and the process is expected to be completed by December end, the State Home and Tourism Minister, Mr Kodiyeri Balakrishn an, said.

The Kerala State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, the nodal agency for land acquisition, has been entrusted with the job of mopping up Rs 250 crore to pay compensation to the land holders by December, the Minister, who is also the Chair man of the Kannur Airport Action Committee, said at a review meeting here recently.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Photos : Proposed Kannur Airport



SEEKING VOTE FOR DEVELOPMENT: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greets the people at a UDF election meeting in Payyoli, near Kozhikode, on Thursday. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is also seen.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Kannur airport: land acquisition from December

Kerala to acquire 2,000 acre for Kannur airport : Acquisition of land in the area notified for the Kannur airport project will begin in December. Survey work is in progress for taking over the land on a fast track basis. This was disclosed by Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at a meeting of the Kannur Airport Action Committee here on Saturday.

The Minister, who is chairman of the committee, said the government had notified 1,200 acres for the airport and acquired 200 acres. Efforts were under way to take over 1,000 acres after completing the survey work. The process of taking possession of the acquired holdings and handing over of the land value fixed through negotiation would begin in December.

There would be no delay in payment of land value as the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra), nodal agency for acquisition of land for the airport project, had started arrangements to mobilise Rs.250 crore from various banks for the purpose, he said. As per the Central government stipulation attached with its approval of the airport project, 2,000 acres of land should be acquired, Mr. Balakrishnan said adding that steps to notify 800 acres for the airport would begin soon. Each of the families to be evicted from the project area would be given 10 cents for their rehabilitation in nearby areas. The government decision was to acquire additional 200 acres for the requirement of rehabilitation, arrangement of facilities for the Indian Air Force and construction of a substation.

The Minister also said that efforts were on to constitute three committees – legal, financial and technical – for implementing the airport project as per the Centre’s instruction.

The Kannur airport, the fourth in Kerala, is planned as a public-private participation project on the model of Cochin International Airport.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kannur airport to be developed on BOO model

he proposed Kannur airport in north Kerala will be developed on Build, Operate and Own (BOO) model with the state government holding 26 per cent stake in the venture.

The proposal in this regard was approved by the state Cabinet today, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters here.

The partner for building the greenfiled airport would be selected through transparent bidding, he said.

The Cabinet also gave its nod for setting up IT parks in Kollam, Alappuzha, Thrissur, Kannur and Kasargode districts.

The land required for locating the parks would identified and handed over to state-run Kerala State IT Infrastructure Ltd (KSITIL) by Revenue Department. Each park would have 25 to 100 acres of land, he said.

The government had earlier announced its plan to develop IT parks in all districts as part of the strategy to make Kerala a major IT destination based on the hub-and-spoke model.

An Aqua Economic Park would be developed at Katungallur in Ernakulam district for breeding and marketing of a wide variety of decocrative fish, he said.

Kerala seeks central nod for Kannur airport

Kerala Chief Minister A K Antony will meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and officials of the civil aviation ministry soon to exert pressure on the central government to sanction the state's fourth airport at Kannur.

Though the Kannur airport project has been pending with the ministry for some years, it has not yet received central government's approval following objections from an expert civil aviation committee.

The project is now stuck in the civil aviation ministry after the committee recommended that a new airport in Kerala could not come up within a distance of 150 km of the Kozhikode airport.

Kerala has now three international airports -- Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

There has also been opposition from the business and political lobbies in Mangalore and Kozhikode against the airport.

They argue that an airport at Kannur will drive away many flights and related businesses from Kozhikode and Mangalore.

However, senior government officials disclosed that the chief minister himself would personally meet the prime minister to seek clearance for the proposed airport.

"The government of Kerala is serious about the airport project. For the development of the Malabar region, especially the tourism sector, an airport at Kannur is a necessity," a senior official of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation told rediff.com.

Already, the official said, the Antony government has put in a request with the civil aviation ministry, seeking an exemption from the rule that two airports cannot exist within a radius of 150 km.

Kannur airport was one of the major projects that the Antony government had showcased during the Global Investor Meet, which was held in Kerala in January this year.

The Kerala government wants the Kannur airport to be built by private entrepreneurs without any financial help from the Airports Authority of India. Already, the Leela Group that runs a chain of luxury hotels in the country, has put in a proposal before the state government seeking permission to bid for the project.

As per the proposal put in by the Leela Group chairman Captain Krishnan Nair, the group will be the chief promoter of the airport. The group, which will float a new company for the project, will also seek participation from international airport developers to give shape to the project.

Several prominent politicians, including the former chief minister E K Nayanar, a number of business groups and NRIs from north Kerala, especially those doing business in the Gulf countries, have been campaigning for the development of Kannur airport for many years now.

Nearly five years back, the state government began acquiring land for the airport at Moorkamparambu, some 20 km from Kannur.

While already some 300 acres of land has been acquired, the government plans to go ahead with the acquisition of another 1,200 acres only after the project gets clearance from the Centre.

Prospects for Kannur airport brighten


State may be allowed to set it up without two runways
STATE MATTERS: Minister for Home and Tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan calls on Union Minister for Tourism Ambika Soni in New Delhi on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: The Centre is willing to make an exception for Kerala in the stipulation that all new airports of the country should have a second runway. An assurance to this effect was given to Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan by Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel on Wednesday at a meeting here.

Briefing mediapersons later, Mr. Balakrishnan said Mr. Patel assured him that the Kannur airport proposal would be cleared once the technical issues were sorted out. Also, given the problems the State Government was facing in acquiring land for the project, the Centre would waive the second runway clause.

Asked whether the new airport would be developed on the Nedumbassery model or on a build-operate-transfer basis, the Minister said a decision would be taken at the appropriate time. On the proposal to upgrade Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports, Mr. Patel said he would visit the State soon to finalise the plans.

Aid to modernise police

On his maiden visit to the capital after assuming office, Mr. Balakrishnan met six other Union Ministers during his two-day stay, which was primarily to attend the meeting of Chief Ministers called by the Prime Minister to discuss internal security. Since the Home portfolio is not with the Chief Minister, the State was represented by Mr. Balakrishnan.

At his one-to-one meeting with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Mr. Balakrishnan was promised central assistance to modernise the police and Fire and Rescue Services and provide better jail facilities. Also, the State made a plea for locating the proposed marine police academy in Kerala. At his meeting with Union Environment and Forests Minister A. Raja, Mr. Balakrishnan secured a positive response to the State's demand for relaxation in the Coastal Regulation Zone Act.

Mr. Balakrishnan also met Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and sought Thalassery-Mysore and Nanjankode-Nilamboor railway lines to promote tourism in the Malabar region. However, Mr. Prasad told him that it could be considered only if the State was willing to meet half the cost.

Meets Ambika Soni

Mr. Balakrishnan made a pitch for setting up an international hospitality management institute with Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni. Also, according to him, the Centre should increase its assistance of Rs.5 crore per designated tourist destination to Rs.50 crore.

He met Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and finalised details of his forthcoming visit to Kerala to make an on-the-spot study of farmer suicides in the State. On Tuesday, Mr. Balakrishnan met Union Surface Transport Minister T.R. Baalu and asked for a Manjeswaram-Parassala water transport system.

Government's nod for Kannur airport

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel has said the Union Government has in principle approved a plan to develop the Kannur airport on the lines of Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL).

The Minister was speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Consultative Committee on Civil Aviation here on Monday.

He said the Union Government would back promotion of tourism industry by the Kerala Government and that the Centre was committed to providing better connectivity and infrastructure.

The Committee had extensive deliberations on better connectivity for south India and Kerala. This was a good year for civil aviation and there were big opportunities as well. Domestic growth was around 50 per cent this year, while in the international sector the growth was about 25 per cent, he said.

Mr. Patel said the Government wanted to link more cities via air and looked to inducting smaller aircraft for the purpose. He said Kerala was already well connected to West Asia and the Union Government wanted connectivity to destinations such as Europe also.

The Civil Aviation Ministry was looking to expand the Air India Express service for cost-effective operations.

Mr. Patel said the thrice-weekly direct flight between Kochi and Delhi would be made daily.

The Union Government is also planning to expand the airport at Agatti. Aviation network will be established to link cities of religious importance, the Minister said.

Central delay leaves Kannur airport project grounded

Kannur airport—Kerala’s second greenfield aviation project—has managed to wriggle out of the Centre’s recent two-runways caveat, after the Kerala government started humming a business diplomacy tune.

While the main promoter Leela Hotels group’s firming of technical partnership with Singapore Changi Airport has boosted confidence in the project, the crucial final clearance from Union civil aviation ministry, however, is stuck in a political airpocket.

“It is difficult for a land-starved population-dense state like Kerala to cobble up land for two runways. Civil aviation minister Praful Patel was convinced of this ground-reality, once this case was presented,” M Vijaya Kumar, Kerala minister in charge of aviation said. However, the official process for identifying the partner will be set in motion only after the bidding.

This, again, awaits clearance from civil aviation ministry. Phase I is expected to cost Rs 930 crore. A feasibility report that the LDF government presented to the Centre forsees a swift turnaround period for the project, in the context of the sizeable non-resident Keralite traffic, North Kerala’s tourism potential and the boom in handloom industry in Kannur. The town is the eighth best textile centre in India.

Together three Kerala airports were found to handle the highest air traffic in India. The biggest clouds for the project are in B2P (business to politics) and P2P (politics to politics) areas. While the first is eased, the second one is looming large in the form of a stiffly contested Assembly bypoll in Kerala this week. It does look that to get the sorely needed final clearance, Praful Patel’s NCP and Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan’s CPI-M would have be closer politically.

Achuthanandan is yet to be more than a reluctant fellow-traveller to the NCP in the state’s LDF coalition. Former Congress leader and Achuthanandan’s political beta noire K Karunakaran recently made an entry into the LDF in his new NCP avataar. Praful Patel has publicly announced, “(only) if Karunakaran seeks expediation of Kannur Airport, the project will gain pace.”

The earlier issue was the differences between Achuthanandan and main promotor Leela Group chairman Cap Krishnan Nair over the beach resort in Kovalam. This was ironed out after Nair took pains to make diplomatic overtures with Achuthanandan’s politburo collegues in Delhi.

“Once we are officially given the opportunity, it will take just two-and-a-half years to put a Changi airport-model state-of-the-art aviation infrastructure in place in Kannur,” said Venu Krishnan, executive director, Leela Group.
(CIAL), country’s first greenfield airport, was triggered during K Karunakaran’s tenure as chief minister. Ironically, fate of the new airport in Kannur would also depend on the bargaining stamina of 87-year-old Karunakaran.

Less than 10 years ago, CPI-M top leaders had been in the forefront as the biggest roadblock to CIAL, carrying placards “An airport involving private capital, over our dead bodies.” Achuthanandan is now CIAL Chairman and has vowed to deliver the Kannur Airport dream....

Kannur Airport would boost to tourism in North Kerala

Kerala tourism had attracted an investment of Rs 1,500 crore in the past two years. Northern Kerala is also poised for a major leap in the tourism sector. At least, half a dozen resorts have come at Bakel beach in northern Kerala. The proposed green field airport in Kannur would give a further boost to tourism in North Kerala.

Places to Visit in Kannur: Tourism


Fort St.Angelos
Fort St.Angelos is in the west of Kannur town.  It was built in 1505 by the first Portuguese Viceroy, Don Francisco De Almeida, with the permission of the Kolathiris, on a promontory jutting into the Lakshadweep sea.The Dutch captured the fort in 1663 and sold it to the Ali Raja of Kannur in 1772 and in 1790 it came into the possession of the British.The British rebuilt it and made it their most important station in Malabar.This fort is in a fairly good state of preservation, though parts of it have collapsed.  A few obsolete guns are seen at the place.  The fort is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.

Thalassery Fort

The British arrived in Thalassery in 1683 and errected a goods shed there.  They shifted their commercial capital to Thalassery from Kozhikode, following obstruction from the Dutch.

In 1700, the British built the Thalassery Fort on a small hill called Tiruvellapadkunnu and in 1708, it was strengthened by increasing its height and with bastions.  The fort is a square structure built of laterite and is distinguished by its massive ventilated walls and strong flanking bastions.  It was here that Haider’s captain was imprisoned.The famous St.John’s Anglican church is behind this fort.

Snake Park at Parassinikkadavu

The Snake Park at Parassinikkadavu is situated 18 kms. away from Kannur town.  It is one of the known snake parks in the country. The park is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of snakes, most of which are becoming extinct gradually. There is a large collection of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes.

Payyambalam Beach

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The Payyambalam beach is one of the beautiful beaches in this State and is an ideal place to spend evenings, irrespective of seasons.  It is very near to Kannur town. The mortal remains of Swadeshabhimani Ramakrishna Pilla, A.K.Gopalan, K.P.Gopalan, Pamban Madhavan and K.G.Marar are laid to rest near this resort.

Ezhimala

Ezhimala, the capital of the ancient Mooshika kings, is considered to be an ancient historical site.  It is a conspicuous, isolated cluster of hills, forming a promontory, 38 kms. north of Kannur. A flourishing sea port and centre of trade in ancient Kerala, it was one of the major battle fields of the Chola-Chera war of the 11th century.It is believed that Lord Budha had visited Ezhimala.  An old mosque believed to contain the mortal remains of Shaikh Abdul Latif, a Muslim reformist, is also located here. The hill is noted for rare medicinal herbs.Bordered by sea on three sides, Ezhimala is set to occupy a prominent place in the naval history of the country, consequent to the proposal for commissioning the Naval Academy here.

Moppila Bay

Moppila Bay is a natural fishing harbour, lying near to Fort St. Angelos.  A sea wall projecting from the fort separates the rough sea and inland water.The bay was famous during the Kolathiris’ regime as a commercial harbour that linked Kolathunadu with Ladshadweep and foreign countries, in imports. Today, Mopilla bay has turned into a modernised fishing harbour, developed under the Indo-Norwegian Pact.

Muzhappilangad Drive -in Beach

It is 15 k.m from Kannur and 8 k.m from Thalasseri.  Black rocks protect this long, clean beach from the currents of the deep,making its shallows waters a swimmer’s paradise . Perhaps this is Kerala only drive-in beach.  Where are can drive entire length of 4 km.

Gundert Bungalow

Gundert Bangalow in 20 k.m away from Kannur, near Thalasseri Town on the national high way at Illikunnu Dr.Herman Gundert, the revered German Missionary, scholar and lexicographer lived in this bungalow for 20 years from 1839.  It was here that one of the first Malayalam dictionaries and the first Malayalam newspaper Paschimodayam took shape.

Pazhassi Dam

An ideal retreat for tourists, the dam site is famous for its scenic beauty.  The D.T.P.C provides pleasure boating facilities at the reservoir.  Accommodation is available at the Project Inspection Bungalow and its dormitories.

Pythal Mala

This enchanting hill station 65 km from Kannur Town,  situated 4,500 ft. above sea level near the Kerala- Karnataka border, is rich in flora and fauna.  It is a 6 km trek to the top of the hills.

Important Religious Centres

Parassinikadavu Muthappan Temple

The famous Muthappan (Siva) Temple (Parassinikadavu Madappura) is on the banks of the Valapatanam river.

According to tradition, the main abode of Muthappan was Puralimala near Mattannur.  The story goes that Muthappan appeared in the form of a child before one Padikutti Amma.  The child had an insatiable appetite for liquor, fish and meat and became a nuisance to the family was therefore turned out from the house.

Armed with a bow and arrow Muthappan wandered  from place to place and eventually reached Puralimala.  At Kunnathurpadi, on his way to Puralimala, he climbed on to the top of a palmyra tree near the house of one Chandan and drank toddy.

Chandan who happened to arrive on the scene, is said to have been turned into a rock at the gaze of Muthappan.  Here Muthappan completely disappeared from the scene and nothing more was heard of completely disappeared from the scene and nothing more was heard of him.  It is believed that he came down to Parassinikadavu.

According to tradition, a member of the Vannan community at Parassinikadavu found a metallic arrow on the trunk of a Kangira tree and having felt something divine about the place, reported the matter to the senior member of an ancient Thiyya family in the neighbourhood.  The latter, who felt the divine presence of Muthappan, immediately performed the necessary ceremonies and offered worship to him.

It is an accepted dictum here, that whatever is received by way of gifts or offerings should be spent for the  benefits of the pilgrims.  The daily offerings made to Muthappan are also different from what they are in other temples.  It has been customary to offer toddy, fish and meat as ‘nivedyams’ to this deity.  People of all castes and communities including

People of all castes and communities including members of the Muslim as well as Christian communities are known to donate sums of money as vazhipadu of Muthappam. The annual festival which falls on December 1st, provides a special occasion for pilgrims to throng the Parassinikadavu temple.

   The temple is situated 20  kms, north of Kannur town.

Thiruvangad Temple.

   The Thiruvangad temple, dedicated to Sree Rama, is an important temple. The temple is generally known as the Brass Pagoda from the copper sheeting of its roof.

   A part of the temple was damaged by Tipu’s troops in the 18th century, but the temple itself is believed to have been saved from destruction by a miracle.

   It was one of the outposts of the Thalassery fort in the eighteenth century. In its precincts were held many conferences between the officials of the East India Company and local leaders, at which political treaties and agreements were signed.

   The temple contains some interesting sculptures and lithic records.

   The annual festival of temple commences on Vishu day in Medam (April-May) and lasts for seven days.

Trichambaram temple

   The Trichambaram temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The pratishta here was performed by Sambara Maharshi and hence the temple is known as Trichambaram.

   The presumption is that the temple is situated in Dwaraka. It is significant that all around the temple, the water level is high. There is an elinji tree just in front of the temple which bears no fruits but only flowers.

The annual festival at Trichambaram takes place during Kumbham-Meenam months (March).

   The temple vazhipadus like payasam and thousand breads are believed to bless the devotees with santhanavardhanavu.

   The temple is located about 5 kms. south of Thaliparamba.

Mosque at Thalassery

   The Juma Masjid situated near the Maidan in the heart of Thalassery town is one of the most beautiful mosques in the district. It is said to be more than a thousand years old and has been rebuilt in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.

Mosque at Madayi

   The most interesting building at Madayi is the beautiful old mosque which was founded by Malik Ibin Dinar.

   A block of white marble in the mosque is believed to have been brought from Mecca by the founder himself. The grave of an Arab divine, who renovated this mosque, is also seen here.

Kottiyur.

   The most important pilgrim centre in this district is Kottiyur, otherwise known as the ‘Varanasi of the South”.

   There are two temples at Kottiyur, viz., Akkara Kottiyur, lying in the deep forests.

   The annual festival commences with Neyyattam on the swati day in Edavam (May-June) and ends with Thirukalasattu, after 28 days.

   A sword from the Muthirikavu, Tavinal village, is brought to Ikkara Kottiyur and this marks the beginning of the festival. It is believed that this sword is the one with which Daksha is believed to have been hacked to death and it is an object of daily workship of Muthirikavu. This festival is akin to the yaga performed by Daksha.

   The special ceremonies connected with the festival are Neyyattam and Elaneerattam, literally meaning the pouring of ghee and water of tender coconut respectively.

Jagannatha Temple

   The Jagannatha Temple, set up by Sree Narayana Guru in 1908, is another important temple. It is situated on a raised ground in the midst of paddy fields and was built by raising funds from the rich and the poor alike.

   The scheduled caste and tribe men were admitted to this temple in 1924. Pooja is performed here by non-Brahmins, according to ancient Hindu rites. Marriage including inter-caste marriages are conducted inside the temple. Annual festival falls in Kumbham (February - March).

St. John’s Church

   The St. John’s church, situated beneath the walls of the Thalassery Fort, was built in 1869 with the funds provided by the Master Attendent, Mr.Edward Brennen.

   Situated on a summit near the sea, this church is one of the most beautiful Anglican churches in India. In this churchyard lies the tomb of Edward Brennen.

Annapurneswari Temple

            The Annapurneswari temple, situated at Cherukunnu near Thaliparamba, is believed to have been constructed by Parasurama. According to tradition, Annapurneswari of Kasi (Banaras) came to Cherukunnu in a ship with three maid servants and a number of their followers. Later, the goddess proceeded to the spot where the temple is now situated

Kannur Airport Approved by Cabinet

Today was a great day for the people of Malabar whose dreams of having a airport in their place is coming true. Not coming to debate if a Airport is really required in the Kannur, today the Government Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of a airport in Kannur through a public-private joint funding and operation.

The proposed airport in Kannur(Cannanore) is to be built in an area of more than 1800 acres of land with operations in a single runway. Along with the promotion of tourism, the airport will also act as a cargo hub for perishable food products.

The bidding for the private strategic partner who will hold 74% stake will be through a competitive bidding process. The state partner will be KINFRA which will have the remaining 26 per cent. The Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister also approved setting up an airport in Nagpur.

In another seperate news, the Leela Group is said to have interest in setting up the airport. Only time will tell what is going to happen next. When time tells, we will relay it right to you, the people of Kannur and Malabar.

Kannur Airport will Reality by 2011

All are panning to travel to Kannur in a flight wait for more news on the proposed Airport in this city of Cannanore, about 208 of the 2,000 acres earmarked for the project had already been acquired by the State Government back in 2007! With the recent cabinet approval, it seems that the city of Kannur will be catapulted to the Indian Air Route Map in less than 3-4 years.

Kannur Airport is expected to provide a major boost of the Malabar, North Kerala in terms of business, in terms of tourism revenue and help its thriving textile industry. Kannur is on of the eight best textile centers in India.

An Airport City is also planned in Kannur where plantation tourism will be promoted. KINFRA or Kerala Infrastructure Development Corporation is the agency designated to proceed the work.

The airport coming up at Moorkhanparamba near Mattanur has received the Environment Ministry’s clearance as well as the permission from the Aviation Ministry to operate with a single runway recently, after clearing the techno-economic and feasibility hurdles on the decade-old proposal.

Kannur Airport to Begin Operation in Three Years

The northern Kerala town of Kannur will be catapulted onto India’s aviation map within three years if everything goes right. According to Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who held talks with the aviation authorities recently, the airport will get final clearance from the federal government once the land acquisition is complete. The state government has already acquired 208 of the 2,000 acres earmarked for the project.

“We have already started acquiring the remaining land and we hope to complete the process in three months. We have also appointed a special officer to speed up land acquisition on a fast-track,” Balakrishnan said.

The largest of Kerala’s four international airports (the existing Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode being others), the new airport is expected to give a major boost to north Kerala’s huge tourism potential and thriving textile industry. Kannur is among the eight best textile centers in India.

“Land acquisition used to be the biggest hurdle for such big projects but we face absolutely no problem and the process moves ahead well. There are no disputes with the landowners for the land that was identified nearly a decade ago,” he said.

Federal Aviation Minister Praful Patel has promised to grant the final Cabinet clearance once the land acquisition is complete. “It is just a formality since we have received all other clearances,” the minister said.

Explaining that the new airport would be no threat to the Kozhikode airport since the foreign tourist arrivals to the state were maintaining a robust growth of around 25 percent every year, he said there was also an understanding to grant international status to the airport once it is operational.

The government plans to build an airport city in Kannur that will also promote plantation tourism along Kerala’s famous spice route that attracted traders from Europe and Arabia centuries ago.

A tourism circuit is also being developed linking Bekel, Valiyaparamba, Muzhuppilangad and Wayanad.

This would be Kerala’s second corporate airport after the one run by the Cochin International Airport Limited. However, unlike the Cochin airport, the new airport will take the build-operate-transfer (BOT) route.

“We decided to take the BOT route to avoid delay. Our priority is to make the project a reality as it will change the face of Malabar. The government will do everything possible to make it a reality in three years,” the minister said.

He said different investment models were being discussed and the government would soon invite proposals from potential investors. The Kerala Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) has been appointed as the agency to take the work forward.

The project mooted in 1998 appeared to be getting off the ground when E.K. Nayanar was the chief minister and C.M. Ibrahim the federal aviation minister, both hailing from the same region. But it hit snags after Ibrahim’s successors raised doubts over its feasibility since Kozhikode and Mangalore were close to it.

The airport coming up at Moorkhanparamba near Mattanur has received the Environment Ministry’s clearance as well as the permission from the Aviation Ministry to operate with a single runway recently, after clearing the techno-economic and feasibility hurdles on the decade-old proposal