Chennai International Airport

Team effort completes Chennai International Airport upgrade in record time

IPM shares experience and expertise with Indian partners

India’s essential infrastructure is fast developing alongside its booming economy and expanding population. Transportation, particularly air, is a key element in India’s developing infrastructure. Upgrading Chennai International Airport was seen to not only satisfy local travellers but the rapidly expanding international trade in the region.

By marshalling the collective skills of IPM’s UK airport experience with Indian skills and manpower, the Kamaraj Domestic Terminal and Anna International terminals of India’s bustling Chennai airport were upgraded in a record 36 month period.

Chennai International Airport (formerly Madras International Airport) is the primary airport serving the southern Indian metropolis of Chennai.

This important airport is also the regional headquarters of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the southern region. It handles in excess of 13.5-million passengers annually and more than 325 aircraft movements a day.

IPM was awarded the Project Management consultancy tender by the AAI in the face of stiff international competition.

The commission required planning co-ordination and quality control as primary objectives and developed to further include Health and Safety leadership. IPM led a team of 30 specialist engineers. They included AAI in-house engineering representatives to manage the works on site, plus a workforce of more than 3,000 involved in the construction.

With terminals at saturation point, the project involved augmenting the existing accommodation by 140,000 m2, adding two new state-of-the-art terminals at either side of the existing facilities, linked by an elevated roadway measuring more than 1 km in length.

The design, sourced from the United States, incorporated many sophisticated construction features including pre-stressed and post stressed concrete beams and elegant site formed steel trusses measuring 400 m in diameter. These components did not have the luxury of US factory production lines, but had to be assembled near the airfield on land used previously for agriculture.

Added value

IPM was able to build on its local engineering capacity by sharing its UK project management expertise with Indian engineers. This involved transferring knowledge, skills and sophisticated engineering techniques, leaving a wealth of experience long after the project completed.

Mike Freeman, Chairman of IPM, said: “In recognition of our performance on this project, we were honoured to be invited as a VIP speaker by the AAI, to present a technical paper entitled ‘Airports Project Management Consultancy in India’ at the prestigious “Inter Airport India” conference.”

The Airports Authority of India Chairman Shri V.P. Agrawal recognised our contribution to the project stating that we had made ‘valuable contributions to the Airport industry in particular and aviation in general’.

Facts for interest

  • The scope of work included RCC (roller compacted concrete) framed structure at basement, arrival, mezzanine, departure and VIP levels. Steel trusses and Kalzip roofing at the roof level have a maximum span of 68 m.
  • The envelope (or framed structure) is covered at the front with spider glazing and all other sides with structural glazing. The approximate floor areas of the new Domestic and International Terminals measure 74,000 m2 and 61,000 m2 respectively.
  • Chennai is the third busiest airport in India in terms of passenger traffic. Together with Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai and Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, it handles more than half of the air traffic in South Asia.
  • The Chennai Metropolitan Area is the fourth largest metropolitan area in India with a population topping nine million.
  • India’s population is currently estimated at more than 1.2-billion people and projected to rise to 1.6-billion by 2050.