Putting an end to a wait of five decades, Kannur International Airport was inaugurated on Sunday. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the fourth international airport in the state with Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi being the other three.

Located within 30 KM of the main town, the airport puts Kannur on the global aviation map. The inaugural flight, Air India Express Boeing 737-800 to Abu Dhabi, took off on Sunday with 185 passengers.

Take a tour of the newly opened Kannur International Airport

1) Connectivity: Budget air travel and easier connectivity with the northern part of the Kerala — Kannur Airport will serve both purposes. International flights to the UAE, Oman and Qatar will be operated from this airport. For regional connectivity, flights to Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai will be available. Air India Express and Go Air have already started operations. Other airlines like SpiceJet will start shortly.

2) Public-private partnership: Spread across 2,330 acres, the new international airport in Kerala is built in the public-private partnership model. While the Kerala government owns A 32.86 per stake in the airport, another 22.54 per cent stake is held by state and central public sector undertakings. This will set a new benchmark in India’s aviation sector in how airports will be constructed.

3) Cost: With a runway length of 3,050 metres and costing close to 2,300 crore, the airport will have the capacity to manage around 4.6 million passengers annually. The airport has a 95,000 square metre integrated terminal building, which is the eighth largest in India.

4) Tradition on the wall: The walls of Kannur International Airport depict the rich heritage and cultural tradition of Malabar and Kannur. Murals enrich the look of the airport. Paintings of traditional dance forms like Theyyam, Kathakali and Yakshagana can be seen on the airport’s wall.

5) Tourism boost: Kannur airport will create around 2,000 direct jobs by different airport agencies besides boosting the tourism industry in northern Kerala.