‘It is a policy decision’

The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered notice to the Centre and the State in a PIL petition seeking direction to notify Madurai airport as international airport.

A Division Bench of Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and S. Ananthi, however, made it clear that it was a matter of policy decision. It sought response and adjourned the plea filed by A. Satheesh Kumar, president of Forum of Tour Organisers, Madurai.

The petitioner said Madurai and other southern districts in the State were dependent on the airport in Madurai. It remained a domestic airport till 2012 and was then declared a customs airport with limited international flights. The integrated terminal building was 17,600 sq mt and was capable of handling 700 peak hour passengers. It could handle 1.5 million passengers a year and had potential for growth in terms of passenger operations.

In 2019, at least 2.75 lakh passengers travelled abroad to countries like Sri Lanka, the Middle East and Singapore from the airport. But, the airport was yet to be notified as an international airport. Therefore, he sought a direction to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to notify/upgrade the airport by considering the representation.

The facilities at the airport matched or were superior to those at some of the other international airports in the country, he said.

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