Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Leela Group still interested in Kannur airport project

Capt. C.P. Krishnan Nair, Chairman of Leela Group, Mumbai, said that he was still keenly interested in investing in the proposed Kannur airport if it was envisaged as a built-own-operate (BOO) project.



His proposal for investment in the airport project was still before the Central and the State Governments. ``BOO route is the most expeditious route,'' he said in response to the State's reported preference of the Nedumbassery model. Asked if he would invest if the Kannur airport was to be developed on the model of the Nedumbassery airport, he said that he had to think about it.

``My stand is that Kannur should not be denied an airport just because there is no one to come forward to invest'', he said. He said Rs.650 crores of investment was initially required for developing the airport. For a private entrepreneur, there were so many obstacles in the Nedumbassery model. He had assured the Government that he could pay back the money it would spend for acquiring land for the airport.

Reiterating that Kannur district needed an airport, Capt. Krishnan Nair said that Kannur was among the eight best textile centres in the country. An international airport here would give a boost to the development of the entire region, he added.

He said the country was in need of more airports as the inflow of foreign tourists into the country had grown from one million to five million a year.

He said the proposed site for the airport near Mattannur had enough land for the development of a 13,000-foot runway and aircraft maintenance facility. The Leela Group had brought nearly 20 aviation experts here to study the feasibility of the project, he said
Capt Nair in world's top 50 senior business chief list
Captain C P Krishnan Nair
Captain C P Krishnan Nair
Captain C P Krishnan Nair, chairman of the Leela group of hotels, has joined the league of world business barons like Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, George Soros and former Fed chief Alan Greenspan.

In fact, Capt Nair features in the list of world’s top 50 septuagenarian business chiefs compiled by the US-based Businessweek. Keshub Mahindra and KP Singh are the other two who have made to the prestigious list from India.

Capt Nair joined the hospitality business when he was 65. He started his business with a single property in Mumbai — The Leela. Now it’s an empire that boasts of four luxury hotels in Goa, Kovalam in Kerala, the Leela Palace in Bangalore, besides the Leela in Mumbai.

The group is also planning hotels in Udaipur, Chennai, Delhi, Pune, and is look-ing at another property in Mumbai. He has also signed an MoU with the Kerala government for an airport project in Kannur.

A globetrotter at the age of 86, Capt Nair sums it up by saying: “My sons and grand daughters are now with me to realise my dream.”

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