The Madras High Court recently instructed the State government to undertake immediate measures to expand the Madurai Airport and also acquire land in this regard so as to declare and notify the airport as an ‘International Airport’. The Court was adjudicating upon a batch of petitions that prayed before the Court to issue directions to the concerned authorities to upgrade the overall infrastructure of the Madurai Airport so as to enable its recognition as an international airport.

[7/27, 14:38] Sekarreporter: [7/27, 14:37] Hemalatha Advt: ‘Take Steps To Develop Madurai Airport’: Madras High Court Directs State On Plea Seeking International Airport Status

https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/madras-high-court-madurai-airport-international-airport-directions-178232
[7/27, 14:38] Sekarreporter: 🙏
[7/27, 14:42] Sekarreporter: The Madras High Court recently instructed the State government to undertake immediate measures to expand the Madurai Airport and also acquire land in this regard so as to declare and notify the airport as an ‘International Airport’. The Court was adjudicating upon a batch of petitions that prayed before the Court to issue directions to the concerned authorities to upgrade the overall infrastructure of the Madurai Airport so as to enable its recognition as an international airport.

Pursuant to the perusal of the counter affidavit filed by the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, New Delhi, a Bench comprising Justice T.S Sivagnanam and Justice S. Anathi noted that approval from the Union Cabinet was required in order to upgrade the status of the Madurai Airport as an International Airport and that the matter was yet to proceed in this regard.

Taking note of the fact that the concerned authorities had held talks on the expansion of the Madurai Airport, the Court observed,

“We hope and wish the State Government takes appropriate steps in the said direction for acquisition of land. We can take judicial notice of the fact from the news report that an Hon’ble Minister of Tamil Nadu held talks discussing about the expansion of the Madurai Airport and aspects like land acquisition etc. If adequate steps are taken in this direction, there is nothing impossible to achieve.”

Further the Court observed that in order to implement the proposal for expansion of runway, the State Government has to first acquire the required land. Such an extension of the runaway would enable the airport to handle large aircrafts and heavy air traffic. Once the extension is completed, the next step that should be undertaken is to declare the airport as an international airport following which other infrastructure facilities such as permanent plant quarantine facility and cold storage must be established, the Court opined.

Responding to the petitioner’s contentions that the existing cold storage facility and permanent plant quarantine facility at the airport are inadequate, the airport authorities submitted that the present capacity of cold storage facility is sufficient to cater to the current volume of cargo handled by the Madurai Airport. Two Cold Storage facilities (Walk-in-type) with a capacity of 5 tons had been set up in Madurai Airport in 2019 to facilitate export as 90% of the cargo exporting from Madurai, is perishable in nature, the counter affidavit contended.

Furthermore, the petitioner had also submitted that the Assistant Plant Protection Officer currently posted at the Madurai Airport should be a certifying authority otherwise there is no use of posting such an officer. Taking into account the grievance raised, the Court observed,

“It is not clear in the counter affidavit as to whether the Assistant Plant Protection Officer is a certifying authority or not, if he is not a certifying authority, then the concerned department should examine whether such power can be delegated to the said officer holding the post, who can certify cargo, needs to be posted. Otherwise, the cargo may be kept in cold storage for more number of days than necessary.”

Accordingly the writ petition was disposed of with the direction that the concerned authorities must undertake necessary steps to augment the existing infrastructure of the airport.

Advocate R. Hemalatha argued for the petitioner.

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