Kozhikode: The Airport Authority of India's decision to partially shut down operations from May one for runway relaying works at nearby Karipur International airport has drawn the ire of passenger associations even as an official said the works would be completed after 15 months.
AAI plans to close down the airport for runway relaying works following a study report of the Central Road Research Institute a few months ago.
The work cannot be delayed any further as the condition of the runway is not suitable for allowing widebodied aircraft, a senior airport official said.
"Operations of widebodied aircraft will not be allowed for eight months from May, this year. Relaying works, starting from June will be completed after 15 months", Airport Director Peter Abraham said today.
"Landing and take off by larger aircraft will be allowed after eight months whereas smaller ones will be allowed to operate as usual throughout the period."
"However, no planes will be allowed to land or take off between 12.00 noon and 8.00 pm every day during the entire period of 15 months," he added.
Operations of Emirates, Saudi Airlines and Jumbo aircraft of Air India would be affected due to this.
Meanwhile, passenger associations and the Indian Union Muslim League have opposed the move as passengers to middle east countries would be badly hit.
The protests are mostly due to the period of closure. Most expartiates visit Kerala during June-July which is the vacation time in Gulf countries. Festivals like Onam, Ramzan and Haj pilgrimage would take place during this period.
The Janata Pravasi Cultural Centre has pointed out that around 27 lakh of expatriates from Kozhikode, Kannur, Malappuram, Thrissur and Palakkad districts would be affected by the decision.