Chennai Airport 2020- What to expect from this southern hub ?
Chennai Airport has had the best decade since it was commissioned in 1948. This decade has seen Chennai airport redevelop its secondary runway, revamp its terminals resulting in more capacity to handle flights and bringing in more airlines and footfall of passengers. Lying strategically in the southern tip of india, its potential for the next decade seem sky high. With just 3 months into the new era there are already things to look forward to this year.
Singapore airlines aircraft change
Singapore airlines last year in December announced that they will be introducing the B787-10 on May 20th replacing the A330-300 which has been serving Chennai all these years. Its first flight would depart Changi as SQ528 and arrive in Chennai at 22:00 local time. The return flight would depart Chennai at 23:15 as SQ529 and arrive in Changi the next day.
The B787-10 would have a two configuration and a capacity of 337 passengers. It would have 36 seats in Business class and 301 in Economy. It is all set to replace Scoot from 24th May thus operating two flights to Chennai.
Air France Paris to Chennai service
Air France is set to relaunch Paris to Chennai service after more than a decade since it last served Chennai. The service is set to be launched on the 14th of May this year using a B787-9. It consists of 3 class configuration with 30 business class seats, 21 Premium economy and 228 economy class seats.
The flight would depart from Paris CDG at 10:10 and arrive in Chennai at 23:30. The return flight would depart Chennai at 1:05 and arrive in Paris CDG at 8:00, all local time. There would be 3 weekly flights on Tuesday,Thursday and Sunday. The bookings for this flight open on the 2nd of March. This is the 4th indian destination served by Air France after Delhi, Mumbai and Banglore. This route was previously served by Jet airways.
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa to Chennai service
Ethiopian Airlines announced it would be starting a new service between Addis Ababa and Chennai this summer effective April 1st. This would be served by a B787-8 which has a two class configuration of 24 business class seats and 246 economy seats. This flight would be operated thrice weekly. Chennai has been in the radar of the airline for many years.
The flight would depart Addis Ababa at 23:30 and arrive in Chennai at 8:10 the next day. This would then have a turnaround time of around 18 hours and depart to Addis Ababa at 2:30 and arriving at 6:10 local time. This is to enable passengers to have a good connecting flight to within Africa. This marks the 4th destination for Ethiopian Airlines after Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai.
The need for a secondary airport in Chennai has been in talks for a long time. With no or very less room for expansion the current airport is already operating at its brim capacity in terms of passenger as well as air traffic. Based on current reports there are two locations in Parandur and Cheyyar which have been shortlisted for constructing the second airport. This would take much pressure out of the existing airport if the secondary airport is built once the under construction terminals get saturated.
Airport and Terminal expansion
The phase one of rebuilding the terminals started with building a new domestic and an international terminal which was commissioned in 2013. Currently it is just a step away from being completed with an integrated terminal building connection the international and the domestic terminals coming up with the scheduled estimate of September being the month it is completed. It would be used for both domestic and international airlines with more counters and with latest IT systems. According to reports first it is to complete the building and second is to pull down the old one for rebuilding. This would be part of Phase-2 expansion. New taxiways are also being built which will help airlines vacate the runway faster thus reducing wait time and traffic congestion especially during peak hours. A new taxiway is being built near the end of runway 25 by demolishing the old terminal building which would enable the aircraft to taxi to runway 25 without slowing down. Another taxiway is being built which would connect the secondary runway with the primary runway.
With terminal, taxiway expansion, new airlines launching new routes and a new airport to look forward to, the coming decade seems nothing less than optimistic for Chennai.