Chennai: Cochin International Airport Ltd (Cial), that runs the airport in Kochi, is planning to set up an airport-based special economic zone (SEZ) with an estimated cost of Rs5,000 crore on 300 acres of land.
An airport-based SEZ is a duty-free region developed near an airport that will require minimum clearances to start industries.
“For the various business projects planned at our airport, we have applied for an airport-based SEZ status from the government,” said S. Bharat, managing director of Cial.
“The proposed maintenance, repair and overhaul centre for aircraft, IT/ITeS park and other knowledge processing based projects will be coming under this airport-based SEZ,” Bharat said.
If approved, Kerala will have the third airport-based SEZ in India. The state is already in the process of developing a port-based SEZ near Kochi Port.
Bangalore-based GMR Group is also developing an airport-based SEZ near Hyderabad International Airport, while Maharashtra Airport Development Co. Ltd is developing a similar one at Nagpur airport.
Meanwhile, Cial is also planning to develop an Aerotropolis or an airport city, which will have luxury hotels, golf course, convention centre, logistics centres, amusement parks and cultural villages. The Aerotropolis, which will also focus on medical tourism centres, is part of the proposed SEZ.
Cial recently appointed a Mumbai-based aviation consultant Aerobiz International to guide it in starting an aircraft maintenance facility or maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO). “We have received bids from several international MRO operators. We will be finalizing the final bidders shortly,” Bharat said.
Cial is also setting up an aviation training institute that will train engineers, pilots and other professionals required for airports and airlines.