Kannur: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday commissioned the Kannur International Airport Ltd (KIAL).

The first flight from the airport was flagged off by the chief guests at 10 AM. It was an Air India Express flight with 180 passengers to Abu Dhabi. All passengers received a gift each from KIAL.

This is the fourth international airport in the state, the rest are in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode.

Hundreds of people, including politicians, were present to witness a cultural programme ahead of the take-off of the Abu Dhabi flight. Two more flights were listed for the day.

Flights that would operate from here include those to the UAE, Oman, Qatar, besides domestic ones to Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai among others.

The KIAL is slated to serve more than 1.5 million international passengers annually.

It is expected to boost tourism in Kannur, Kasargode, Wayanad and increase trade and commerce in the handloom and spices sectors. The airport would be able to handle 2,000 passengers at a time.