Calicut International Airport (IATA: CCJ, ICAO: VOCL), also known as Karipur Airport, is an international airport located in Karipur, Malappuram district of Kerala, India. It serves the Malabar region of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Palakkad. It is situated 28 kilometres away from Kozhikode city and 25 kilometres away from Malappuram town. It serves two of the seven metropolitan areas in the state- Kozhikode metropolitan area and Malappuram.
The airport opened on 13 April 1988. The airport serves as an operating base for Air India Express and operates Hajj Pilgrimage services to Medina and Jeddah from Kerala. It was the eleventh-busiest airport in India in terms of overall passenger traffic. It is the third-busiest airport in Kerala after Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. It received international airport status on 2 February 2006. It is one of few airports in the country with a tabletop runway. It is a focus airport for Air India, Indigo and Spicejet.
The airport was inaugurated in April 1988.
In 1977, Calicut Airport was sanctioned due to long periods of struggle under the leadership of the late freedom fighter K. P. Kesava Menon. In the 1990s, Gulf Malayalis played an important role in the development of the airport – they collected funds for the purpose when the Union Government claimed it did not have any.
This led to the inception of the Malabar International Airport Development Society, which helped raise funds for the airport’s development. Consequently, major developments of facilities, such as an extension of the runway from 6,000 feet to 9,000 feet to facilitate the operation of large aircraft, were carried out with loans from the HUDCO.
It received the status of an international airport on 2nd February 2006, which led to more development in its infrastructure, for handling the operation of international flights from its terminal. It is the 12th-busiest airport in India in terms of its passenger traffic and 11th-busiest in cargo handling.
Since 1 May 2015, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) imposed restrictions on the operation of wide-body aircraft such as Boeing 777 and 747 for a period of six months for runway recarpeting, which had been long overdue at this airport. As a result, Emirates, Saudia and two Air India Boeing 747 flight operations had to move temporarily to Cochin International Airport during this time.
The airport authorities had expressed doubt about getting permission to operate wide-bodied aircraft from the airport, even after the completion of the recarpeting, for the runway in the airport is not large enough for the operation of jumbo aircraft. AAI had earlier instructed that all airports using widebody aircraft must have 240 m of RESA in each direction, whereas that of Calicut Airport must have 90 m.
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