In September last year, Kannur International Airport was formally commissioned when the first passenger aircraft successfully landed there marking the readiness of the fourth airport in Kerala for commercial operations. The project has been developed by Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL), promoted by Government of Kerala, to build and operate airport of international standard at Mattannur, in Kannur District, the Northern part of Kerala, primarily to cater to the needs of large Non Resident Indian population in the region who travel frequently to various international destinations, the business community and tourists. The trial was carried out by the Air India Express aircraft IX 555. It is part of the final procedures for getting clearance to commence commercial operations. KIAL has confirmed that the trial was successful. The airport, which has absorbed an investment of 22.92 billion, is expected to help the state attract tourists.
This is the second Greenfield airport in Kerala, being built on Public Private Partnership model in an area of about 2,300 acres. The land is acquired by the state government and has been transferred to KIAL. The company has claimed that it would make Kerala the only state in the country to have four international airports. As per the Information Memorandum prepared by SBI CAPS, the airport is expected to have an approximate annual traffic of 1.65 million international and 0.16 million domestic passengers in the first year of operation. As per Kerala government, eleven international and six domestic carriers have expressed interest to start operations from the new airport. The international carriers that have shown interest to start operations include Emirates, Etihad, Fly Dubai, Air Arabia, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Saudi Arabia, Silk Air, Air Asia and Malindo Air.