Work on revamping the airstrip at Abdullapuram near Vellore as a domestic terminal has speeded up to meet the deadline. Vellore Airport, selected under the second phase regional connectivity scheme (RCS) of UDAN (“Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik”) is likely to have required infrastructure for operations by June 2019.
It was not known when the services to Chennai or Bengaluru would begin from here, however the pace of work has raised expectations of industrialists, educationists, politicians and other dignitaries travelling on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway by road. The small airport came up in 1934 in about 46 hectares. With the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation announcing that flight services will be introduced from Vellore by this year end, the long wait for an airport in the district is nearing an end. The need for an airport had been reiterated over the past several years as the district has frequent fliers from institutions such as VIT and Christian Medical College, and also leather industries.
The construction of terminal building and laying of runways were under way in December 2018. The AAI has set up a mobile air traffic control tower, which is imported from Slovakia. While this is the situation at Abdullapuram, the State Highways department is silent on handing over a small strip of land on Abdullapuram-Odukathur Road (less than a kilometre) which is part of the expansion project envisaged by AAI. An assessment of government poramboke lands in and around the airstrip at Abdullapuram to pave way for its operationalisation was conducted.