Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), India’s fourth largest airport in terms of international passenger traffic, is on an expansion drive with a ten in year growth plan in line. Handling over 3.5 million passengers in a year and 820 flight movements per week, this true gateway of God’s Own Country, it has already embarked on an array of diversification activities too. The CIAL academy, CIAL Airport based SEZ and MRO, CIAL Golf and Country Club, CIAL Tour Dept, Airport Museum, International Trade Fair and Exhibition Center, Viewing Gallery, Airport Mall, Multiplex, Amusement Park and Garden are real testimonies to novel diversities. Positioned as an environment friendly facility giving emphasis on the environmental protection and pollution control, it has become the pride of Kerala and a model airport in the country.
The growth plan envisages expansion and modernization of terminals, facility enhancement for passengers and airlines, building world class lounges and duty free shops, developing airport as a tourist hub, encouraging charter flights, establishing a heli-taxi system and a network of helipad linking airports, townships, wild life resorts, health and beach resorts and pilgrimage centres of Kerala.
The proposed Trade Fair Center will have three large halls of 3,500 sq. mtr space each with large open air space and car parking facility. The CIAL Academy and CIAL AME Institute train and certify technicians and provide Advance Degree and Diploma and Post Graduate Programme in Airport Design and Construction, Operations and Aviation Business Management. With the kind of expertise and infrastructure it has, CIAL academy will provide hands on experience in the field of aviation technology and management in collaboration with the world’s largest university, IGNOU, and will aim to establish accreditation with International Aviation Organizations such as IATA, ICAO etc, to make our young people employable worldwide. The aim is to develop and evolve as a centre of excellence for various career oriented learning.
It also plans to develop a cargo hub for Kerala and neighboring regions. A Centre for Perishable Cargo (CPC) has been commissioned with 2100 sq.m. area and capacity to handle 25000 tonnes of perishable cargo per year. This will enhance development of herbal, floral and horticulture and export of these and other farm products.
The Cochin International Airport based Industrial Park Project proposed by CIAL has received the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status from Govt of India. Union Ministry of Commerce had granted SEZ status for 250 acres of CIAL property covering the industrial park project site, a major area of the Maintenance Hanger, Science Park and the Airport Museum. CIAL has already started inviting aerospace companies and entrepreneurs to set up industrial units in the project site. The invitation, issued along with a layout of the proposed industrial park, offers developed plots of half an acre in single or multiple units on a long term lease for various Indian and overseas and joint venture companies.
Spread over 450 acres, this project will include:
- MRO and Aviation Academy, Airport and Aerospace Museum.
- Logistic and Warehousing Centre, Industrial Parks for aircraft and airport related industries.
- Star hotels and Super Speciality Hospital, Convention Centre.
- Multiplexes, Amusement Centre and Shopping Arcade.
- Unique Golf Course with spice and herbal gardens.
- Exhibition Hall and Trade Fair Centre.
Padmashree Dr. C.G. Krishnadas Nair, former Chairman of HAL has been spearheading the growth of CIAL for the last three years. A great visionary, leader and role model, he has a mission for CIAL to plan and guide its growth through technology and people. Initiating a number of innovative projects at CIAL, he was instrumental in planning and approving the ten year Strategic Growth Plan for CIAL. In an interview given to Kerala Holidays 247, Dr. C.G.K.Nair explained the initiatives of CIAL to develop tourism activities.
How do you see Kochi as the commercial and tourist gateway of Kerala
Kochi is gifted by its proximity to tourism attractions like beaches, forests, mountains, wildlife, rivers, waterfalls, backwaters,hill stations etc. It has a rich tradition of luring the travellers and traders since ancient times. Along with the richness of natural resources it is also home for many industrial units. The Vallarpadam Container Terminal, LNG Terminal, The Shipyard, Cochin Port Trust, Naval Base and the fact that Kochi is the landing point of two majour undersea inter continental internet optic fibre cables make it a prime business destination.
What are the essential business plans of CIAL Tour Division (CTD)
We aim to promote Kerala as a preferred tourist destination with Kochin as the gateway, establish working partnerships with national and international tour operators, house boat rentals, vehicle rentals, hotels and resorts etc, so that the Desk could handle both inbound and outbound tour operation and to maintain competitiveness in price and quality.
CTD can count also on the back up of the brand strength of CIAL. CIAL Tour Desk, the first of its kind undertaken by an airport, is to compliment the efforts of tour operators and other stake holders in promoting Kerala tourism. CIAL’s gain will be the increased passenger traffic and associated income generated at the Airport.
Domestic tourism, which depends mainly on Rail and Road, can be tapped. CIAL can help tap this opportunity by linking up with airlines and resorts to provide attractive packages. This can attract the millions travelling under LTC and other employee incentive schemes besides attracting the pilgrim travellers
Kerala Health tourism has huge potential and is relatively an untapped area now. Agreements are already signed with many Ayurveda hospitals, health resorts and dental and cosmetic surgery clinics. Many more super speciality hospitals and Ayurveda hospitals would join with CIAL soon.
The CIAL Golf Course is unique with many emerald lakes, varieties of herbal (medicinal) plants, spice gardens and mini coffee and tea gardens. The club house is built in an elegant and traditional Kerala architecture. The members and guests will have many value added service through golf villas/ cottages, tennis court, bowling green etc. CIAL hopes that the Golf Course and Country Club will be a large fillip for the tourism industry of our state and tourist traffic through CIAL. CIAL & tourism industry in Kerala could reap its benefits in the coming years with this venture. CIAL and KTDC together with Tour & Charter operators and Resort owners must Endeavour to leverage on this magnificent facility to bring Golf Tourism in a big way.
The 17500 square feet golf course building has a card room, mini conference hall, hall of Fame, and a restaurant.
The course has five artificial lakes spreading to seven lakh square feet which would be decorated with lotus plants and the banks with herbal grass and flowering plants. The course will have varieties of Ayurvedic medicinal plants, spices and mini coffee and tea gardens.
The second phase will see the completion of balance fairways and the remaining 9 holes. About 1300 individual members besides 20 corporate have already registered. In the next phase, we plan to construct a swimming pool and tennis court by the side of the club house and golf villas/ cottages and also establish a Golf Academy to teach the game of Golf.