Madurai to have international air link soon
Union home minister P Chidambaram said the Congress-led UPA at the Centre was according great importance to infrastructure development in the country. Inaugurating the Integrated Terminal Building at Madurai airport, built at a cost of Rs 130 crore, Chidambaram said the government was making huge investments in the fields of shipping, railways, highways and airport development. The country was witnessing tremendous development in a rapid way due to the investments on the infrastructure front. He said the development was several-fold more than the growth achieved in the last 50 years. Responding to a request from Union chemicals and fertilizers minister MK Alagiri that Madurai airport be upgraded into an international airport, Chidambaram assured him that international flights would be operated from there within three or four months. Madurai would be connected with foreign countries, besides cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore, he said. Presiding over the function, minister of state for civil aviation Praful Patel said steps were being taken to introduce not only international flights from Madurai, but also cargo transport aimed at industrial and agricultural development in south Tamil Nadu. Patel said air passenger traffic had increased by 300% in the last four years — a reflection of growth in the aviation sector as well as the changing profile of people who chose to travel by air. Aircraft, as a cargo carrier, has also gained significant importance, as indicated by the growth in cargo transportation, he said, adding that it is the reason there was a plan to operate cargo flights from Madurai.