About 11 km to the north-west of Coimbatore Railway Station is Coimbatore Airport, an international airport located in Peelamedu. Formerly known as Peelamedu Aerodrome or Coimbatore Civil Aerodrome, the airport is about 13 km from the city centre. It is under the operation of Airports Authority of India (AAI) and serves Coimbatore and adjacent districts. The airport is well connected with all the other Indian states as well as major international destinations.
Initiated in the 1940s, as a civil aerodrome, Coimbatore Airport has come a long way since its commencement. In the initial years, the connectivity of the airport was rather modest, as it linked Coimbatore to Chennai and Mumbai only. Indian Airlines operated from this airport, with aircrafts such as Fokker F27, Douglas DC-3 and Hawker Siddeley's Avro 748. With time, services to Cochin and Bengaluru were also added. It was about four decades later i.e. in the 1980s that Coimbatore Airport underwent through an expansion phase.
The airport was closed down mainly for runway expansion, to accommodate modern jets, like the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. It was in the year 1987 that the Coimbatore Airport resumed its services, with an expanded runway and a new terminal. Eight years later, the airport proudly kicked off its first ever international services, with Indian Airlines flying to Sharjah. Later, in the year 2007, international destinations like Colombo and Singapore were added to the existing international destination serviced by the airport.
Presently, Coimbatore Airport has one terminal only, while another one being under construction. Talking about the airport structure, it has two hangars, one for private carriers and the other for Coimbatore Flying Club. The parking space of the airport can house up to 6 aircrafts. It also has an in-house fire station, to meet emergencies. The runway extends up to 9,760 feet in length (8500 feet before expansion). Coimbatore Airport also has an Instrument Landing System (ILS) installed.
Work for modernization of Coimbatore Airport has started and will be over only in two years. With an estimated investment of about Rs. 78 crore, the expansion project undertakes the scaling up of the carpet area to 14,000 sq meters, on two-storeyed steel and glass space frame structure, from the previous 6,000 sq m. Installation of aero bridges, escalators, four elevators and construction of a parallel taxiway to the runway are also on cards. The latter would allow minimization of runway occupancy time and turnaround of aircrafts as well.
Work for adding two more parking bays from the present six bays is also under progress. The modernization process of Coimbatore Airport would also include facility of an up-to-date system for baggage-handling. While the passenger handling capacity would double from the currently 350 people, the cargo handling capacity of 40 tonnes, at a time, is also expected to double. For this, an investment worth of Rs 1.5 crore has been incurred. In two years time, Coimbatore Airport is sure to undergo a face lift.