Permission for Shah’s flight to land granted by us: KIAL

Thiruvananthapuram: Kannur International Airport Ltd Monday said it was KIAL and not the state government which granted landing permission to the chartered aircraft carrying BJP President Amit Shah at that city on 27 October, ahead of its formal inauguration on 9 December.

The clarification came in the wake of the controversy which had erupted over the flight landing ahead of the inauguration date, with a Minister slamming Shah Sunday for threatening to oust the LDF government despite it allowing him to arrive there as part of state’s ‘tradition of hospitality.’

A KIAL release Monday said that since Kannur airport had received license for operations of non-scheduled flights, it can allow any requests for landing of flights, though operation of scheduled flights would commence after 6 December.

KIAL said the requisite amount for landing of the flight has to be paid to the airport operator, the release said. On that basis, the chartered flight carrying the BJP president was permitted to land at the airport and the necessary charges were also paid.

Besides this, two non scheduled flights were also permitted to land. It was KIAL and not the state government which granted permission for the flight to land, the airport authority said. The main opposition Congress had also taken on the LDF government for allowing the BJP chief to use the airport.

The party had alleged Sunday that Shah landed at the airport following an ‘understanding’ between him and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The release said that when the previous Congress-led UDF government conducted a trial run of a flight at the airport, most of the infrastructure had not been completed and only 2,300 metres of runway was laid.

Work on the runway and safety area, parallel taxiway, airfield ground lighting and ATC tower were among those which had not been completed, the release said. It was only after the LDF government came to power that various works at the airport were completed on a war footing, the release added.