With a tunnel underneath to transport passengers and baggage, the Chennai airport is likely to have a satellite terminal soon to cater to the growing passenger traffic. For this, the Chennai Metro Rail has been roped in to see how tunnelling can be carried out in the apron area of the airport.This project is likely to cost around 700 crore.
Officials said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had held discussions with Metro Rail officials recently in this regard.
“The tunnel will be at a depth of 10.5 feet and for a distance of 1.5 km from the main terminals to the satellite terminal, which will be located near the remote parking bays. There will be two tunnels running underneath, one for passengers and another for baggage,” an official said.
The primary reason for a satellite terminal was the greenfield second airport getting delayed, sources said. Once the new terminals, to be built as part of phase II modernisation project, get saturated this will help in managing the growing passenger traffic till the second airport is built, sources added.
Also, most airlines prefer the main parking slot for their aircraft since it is convenient, due to which the remote bays mostly remain unused, officials said.
“When this plan is executed, airlines will begin to use those remote bays as well,” he added.
Chennai Metro Rail has given an estimate of 500 crore for tunnelling work alone, sources said.
According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), they will need to know what runs underneath the airside before they begin to carry out the tunnelling work.
“It will be challenging to carry out this work and we will need to know the flight schedule on a day-to-day basis to plan the work,” he added.