The Rs 2,100 crore modernisation project of Calcutta airport is finally underway. Metro gets to watch the first flush of work in progress and takes a closer look at the bigger picture.
WHATThe first of the three-phase modernisation programme involves a 1,80,000 square metre state-of-the art integrated terminal building, extension of secondary runway, six parking bays and a rapid taxiway to host Airbus 380 (the largest aircraft in the world). Plus, a new air traffic control tower.
WHYCalcutta airport now handles 7 million passengers annually. By 2012, it is likely to handle nearly 20 million passengers annually. So there is an urgent need for more check-in-counters, high-speed X-ray system and conveyor belts in the terminal building; more runway, parking and taxiing room for aircraft; also, more space for car park.
WHOThe Thai-Indian consortium ITD-ITD CEM was awarded the letter of intent by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on October 6.
A 15-member expert team from Thailand is now camping in town. This is the same team that was instrumental in the making of Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok.
RJM of Hong Kong and Airport De Paris, with Indian partners Sikka Associates, have designed the new terminal building.
The Rs 95-crore project of secondary runway extension and construction of new parking bays and taxiway is being done by Bangalore-based Vishal Infrastructure Ltd.
WHENThe work on the runway, parking bays and a rapi
d taxiway is already underway and will be completed within a year. Work on the terminal building is scheduled to start from the first week of November, said S.P.S. Bakshi, the executive director of the modernisation project of Calcutta airport.
The work will be completed within 30 months, said Werapol Asapa, the contract manager of ITD.
The timeframe for the new ATC tower has not yet being finalised.
HOWThe work for secondary runway extension 400 metre on the northern side and construction of new parking bays and a rapid taxiway has picked up pace.
For the integrated terminal building project, the piling work will be taken up first. The land is marshy and so huge piling work is needed, said an ITD official.
Once the piling work is complete, the construction of the building will begin. First, the underground car parking facility will be constructed for 1,500 to 1,700 cars.
We are planning to complete the structure of the two-and-a-half storied building before the onset of monsoon in June 2009. Most of the structure will be made of steel, said Bakshi.
After the building structure is complete, the work on the interiors will start.
The columns will be built at a separation of 20 to 25 feet to maintain flexibility. This would allow more check-in counters to be extended and conveyor belts installed inside the terminal building without a problem, Bakshi explained.
Walkalators (walking escalators) , conveyor belts with in-built X-ray machines, elevators, baggage handling area and other modern facilities would be created in phases.