The Metro Rail network from Little Mount runs for a distance of 10 metres below the ground from Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) to Meenambakkam and then rises above the ground as an elevated stretch till Chennai airport.
This had raised safety issues as the stretch from OTA till Meenambakkam falls near the flight approach path of the secondary runway, said an AAI official. An extensive safety assessment is needed to assess the possible impact and risks that may arise due to this connectivity and measures would have to be taken in this regard, he added.
According to Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), they had made the change in the route after holding discussions with AAI officials who suggested the possibility of there being an interference of signals. Also, the entire stretch of this rail line would be completely covered as an additional measure towards ensuring safety, an official of CMRL said.
However, a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) has been issued to CMRL by AAI; a safety assessment has been done and a committee in the civil aviation sector in New Delhi has also cleared this project.
Currently, the work on this stretch stands suspended as CMRL terminated a Rs. 178-crore contract of Lanco Infratech Limited in August 2013 as the contractor had missed several deadlines and the project was far behind schedule. Sources say this line may not be operational before mid-2015.
This is the second airport in the country to have connectivity with the Metro Rail facility after Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi.