Trivandrum International airport is the first airport in the state of Kerala established in 1932 by Colnl Goda Varma Raja, consort prince of HRH Queen Karthika Thirunal of Travancore Kingdom. The first flight took off on 1 November 1935, carrying mails of Royal Anchal to Mumbai. After Independence, the airstrip was used for domestic flights with construction of a domestic terminal T1.
International operations were initiated by Air India to Middle Eastern countries in the late 1970s. The first International Flight was operated in 1977.It is the fifth international airport of India declared by then Prime Minister of India V P Singh in 1991.
The terminal 1, domestic terminal with an area of 99,000 Sq. ft. can handle around 400 passengers at a time. Terminal 2, with passenger handling capacity of 1600, is for international operations and also handles domestic operations of Air India. Annual passenger handling capacity of the new international terminal (T2) which was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Shri Manmohan Singh in 2011, is around 1.8 million.
International operations are mostly to Middle Eastern and south eastern countries. T2 is at a distance of around 3.7 k from the city center. Kovalam Beach, one of the favorite tourist spots in Kerala, Techno Park, the software business hub and the proposed Vizhinjam seaport, are all in the vicinity of the airport.
To enable the passengers to check in at any counter, a Common Users Terminal Equipment (CUTE) is installed in the New International Terminal, i.e. Terminal 2. X-ray machines are attached to the side of the conveyor belts for faster clearance of baggage. The new terminal has a car park area that can accommodate about 600 cars. Pre-paid taxi service counter and foreign exchange (Thomas Cook India) counter are there on arrival area. Visa on Arrival facility (VOA) service is available and allows citizens of 44 countries to obtain tourist visas on arrival.
The cargo activities at the Trivandrum Airport are carried out through the Kerala State Industrial Enterprises (KSIE), a government of Kerala undertaking). The cargo warehouse is on the airport premises. It has a capacity to import 21000 MT and export 27000 MT per annum. In 2010-11 (up to December 2010), the airport achieved MT of import cargo and MT of export cargo