He has been at the helm of affairs of airport for 19 years
V.J. Kurien will retire as the managing director of Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) on Wednesday. District Collector S. Suhas has been given the additional charge of the airport, said a press release from CIAL here. Mr. Kurien was instrumental in turning the people’s venture greenfield airport into a great success. The model has been critically acclaimed. He also turned the airport into a facility depending solely on solar energy for its power requirements. The effort brought the airport the Champion of the Earth Award in 2015. The award is the highest recognition from the United Nations for environmental protection activities.
Mr. Kurien had retired as additional chief secretary of the State and had since continued to hold charge of the airport operations. His tenure ends on Wednesday after he was requested to continue for a period of five years after his retirement in 2016.
Mr. Kurien, an IAS officer of the 1983 batch, has been at the helm of affairs of the airport at various times for 19 of the 27 years of the airport’s existence. The idea of an airport with public participation was mooted by him in the 1990s and a company for the purpose was floated in 1994. The airport was commissioned as a PPP venture in 1999 and has set a record of its own in terms of performance and profitability.
The airport employs around 12,000 people directly and 25,000 indirectly. The airport has 19,000 shareholders and the company has been paying dividend since 2002-03. CIAL handles around 1 crore passengers yearly. The dividend out has been 282% as per a company communication. Mr. Kurien also ensured that development works worth ₹2,016 crore were carried out at the airport between 2016 and 2021.
He began his career as Muvattupuzha sub-collector and went on to serve as the district collector in Alappuzha and Ernakulam and later additional chief secretary. He also headed Oushadi, Roads and Bridges Development Corporation and Spices Board.
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