Chennai International Airport MAA VOMM

சென்னை சர்வதேச விமான நிலையம்

Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA, ICAO: VOMM) (Tamil: சென்னை சர்வதேச விமான நிலையம்) is located in Meenambakkam, 7 km (4.3 mi) south of Chennai, India. It is the third largest international gateway into the country and the third busiest airport in India after Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport, and the main air hub for South India, handling around 12 million passengers in 2007 and serving more than 50 different airlines. It is also a hub for Jet Airways, Kingfisher Red, Air India and Paramount Airways. It is also an important cargo terminus for the country, after Mumbai.


Chennai had one of the first airports in India, and was the final destination of Air India's first flight from Bombay (Mumbai) via Belgaum in 1954. The first passenger terminal was built at the northeast side of the airfield, which lies in the suburb of Meenambakkam due to which it was referred to as Meenambakkam Airport. A new terminal complex was subsequently built further south near Pallavaram to which passenger operations were shifted. The old terminal building is now used as a cargo terminal and is the base for the Indian courier company Blue Dart.


Chennai International Airport consists of three terminals: The old terminal at Meenambakkam is used for cargo, while the new passenger terminal complex near Pallavaram is used for passenger operations. The passenger terminal complex consists of the domestic and international terminals interconnected by a link building, which houses administrative offices and a restaurant. Although the complex is one continuous structure, it was built incrementally, with the Kamaraj and Anna terminals being added in 1988 to the pre-existing Meenambakkam terminal.

The first part to be built was the international terminal which had two aerobridges (jetways), followed by the domestic terminal with three aerobridges. After the completion of the domestic terminal, the old terminal at Meenambakkam was used exclusively for cargo. Recently the international terminal was extended further south by adding a new block which includes three aerobridges. At present, the new international block is used for departures while the older building is used for arrivals.

The airport has the honour of being the first ISO 9000 certified airport in the country, which it received in 2001.

Facts and Figures

Anna International Terminal

Currently, Chennai airport handles about 25 aircraft movements every hour, which will be saturated by the year 2014-15. However, peak hour traffic handling capability will be exhausted much earlier than that. Anna International Terminal handled 3,410,253 passengers in 2007-08 and has the capacity of handling 3M passengers annually, Already it has surpassed the passenger handling capacity. Similarly, Kamaraj Domestic Terminal, which handled 7,249,501 passengers in 2007-08, has the capacity to handle 6 million passengers annually. Here again the terminal demand far exceeds the capacity. In all Chennai airport handled a capacity of 10,659,754 passengers in 2007 - 08. The airport handled cargo of a total of 270,608 tonnes in 2007 - 08.

Modernisation and Expansion

The airport at Meenambakkam has been slated for modernisation and expansion. The works are to be carried out by the Airports Authority of India and include the creation of a parallel runway, taxiways, aprons and new passenger handling buildings. The expansion works will involve the acquisition of land in nearby areas. The expansion of the existing airport would be taken up at Manapakkam, Kolapakkam, Kerugambakkam and Tharapakkam in Sriperumbudur taluk after a resolution to this effect was adopted by at the secretariat.

The government would provide suitable compensation to 947 households in these areas and also rehabilitation to them. The rehabilitation of the households would be done in the first phase of the expansion work itself.

The modernisation and restructuring is expected to cost around Rs 2,350 crore, of which the cost of construction of the runway, taxiway and apron would be around Rs 1,100 crore, while the cost of construction of the terminal building, cargo building, car park and face uplift would be Rs 1,250 crore.

As per the modernisation plan, the secondary runway will be built over the Adyar river by means of a bridge. The runway will extend across Adyar river. A bridge will be built over the river to accommodate the runway and a taxiway. This makes Chennai Airport, the only international airport in India to have a runway running across the river. This will be the first runway to come up over a bridge in the country; In Mumbai only an end of the runway is over Mithi river. The secondary runway extension will cost around Rs 430 crore and will be completed in 2010.

The proposed Chennai Metro Rail Project will connect the Chennai International Airport to various parts of the City. Tentatively, the project is programmed for completion in the financial year 2013-2014.

Proposed New Integrated Terminal

The design is a collaborative effort of four firms. While the Hargreaves Associates has done the landscape design while Frederic Schwartz firm is responsible for the design of buildings on the landside of the runway. The Creative Group would be the local architects for the project. The proposed design will be connected with the existing terminal design elements. It was earlier reported that the new terminal buildings will have a handling capacity of 10 million passengers and when integrated with existing terminals will provide for a handling capacity of 23 million passengers a year. The terminal buildings is expected to have an area of about 1, 40,000 sq. m. with 140 check-in counters and 60 immigration counters and the two runways would be interconnected by a taxiway. The New Integrated Terminal will have a Flyover Travelator connecting the Domestic Terminal and International Terminal for a distance of about 1 km. It'll have an elevated road on the top and a tube below which will have two Walkalators

The design details of the runways are handled by the Airports Authority of India, while architecture firms are limited to designing buildings on the landside of the runway. The present proposal is parallel to the existing runway. The entire design as being organised around “two lush sustainable gardens” and the wing-like roofs helps collect rainwater and become part of the garden.

Proposed New Integrated Cargo Complex

An integrated cargo complex will be built in the cargo complex of the Chennai airport. The complex would be constructed, at a cost of Rs. 145 crore, in 15 months. While the ground floor would measure 21,000 square metres, the first floor would be built on 12,100 square metres. The new building would be used exclusively for import activities. Once the civil works were completed, the Automatic Storage and Retrieval System would be installed. It would cost Rs. 75 crore.


* In 2007-08, the existing airport handled 1,15,865 aircraft movements and its capacity to handle aircraft movements is likely to be saturated by 2014-15.
* The existing airport can handle about 25 aircraft movement per hour and even after expansion, the airport will get saturated by 2014-15 and the Greenfield Airport has to be ready then. The same logic has been applied in Mumbai, where the Navi Mumbai airport is to be ready in time the existing ones gets saturated around the same time.
* The AAI is of the view that a logical thing would be to construct a new domestic terminal and allow simultaneous use of the cross runways there. These things can take us through till the year 2015.

New Greenfield Airport

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has announced the setting up of a new greenfield airport at Sriperumbudur and Tiruvallur taluks, apart from the expansion of the existing airport at Meenambakkam.

The greenfield airport would come up on 3,486.66 acres (14.1100 km2), expansion of Chennai airport would be done on 1,069.99 acres (4.3301 km2) at an estimated cost of Rs 2,000 crore.

Initially the work for the greenfield airports was to be entrusted to the Airports Authority of India (AAI). However, the greenfield airport, mooted by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, coming up at Sriperumbudur near Chennai will be developed under a public-private partnership. The Prime Minister’s Committee has also asked for a pre-feasibility report for this airport.

The greenfield airport will have four runways. Eyeing Chennai airport, leading global airport developers are forging alliances with Indian players for bidding for the project. The companies interested in the project include Singapore Changi Airport, Macquarie Group, GMR Group, GVK Industries Ltd. and Tata Group.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has clarified that “there is no role for the AAI in developing the greenfield airport near Chennai”.

The new airport is expected o be completed within 28 months of work commencing.

Transport links

The airport is situated on the busy Grand Southern Trunk Road (National Highway 45) and is also served by the Airport station (Tirusulam) on the Suburban railway network.The proposed Metro Rail System (Chennai Metro) will also connect the Airport with other important places in Chennai.

Airlines and destinations

Domestic flights operate from the Kamaraj Domestic Terminal (KDT), while the Anna International Terminal (AIT) is for international flights. The old terminal at Meenambakkam is used for Cargo Operations.

Destinations by Region

* Domestic
o India - Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Khajuraho, Kochi, Kolkata, Kozhikode, Madurai, Mangalore, Mumbai, Port Blair, Pune, Rajahmundry, Thiruvananthapuram, Trichy, Tuticorin, Varanasi, Visakhapatnam

* International
o Africa - Mauritius
o Asia
+ East Asia - Hong Kong
+ South Asia - Colombo
+ South East Asia - Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore
+ South West Asia - Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait City, Muscat, Riyadh, Sharjah
o Europe - Brussels, Frankfurt, London-Heathrow, Paris-Charles de Gaulle (ends 30 March)
o North America
+ United States - New York-JFK

Kamaraj Terminal (Domestic)

Airlines operating at the domestic terminal Airlines ↓: Destinations|
Air India Regional: Delhi, Visakhapatnam
Indian Airlines: Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Madurai, Mumbai, Port Blair, Trichy
IndiGo Airlines: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune
Jet Airways: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Madurai, Mumbai, Pune, Trivandrum
JetLite: Delhi, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam
Kingfisher Airlines: Bangalore, Calicut, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Khajuraho, Mangalore, Mumbai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Varanasi, Visakhapatnam
Kingfisher Airlines
operated by Kingfisher Red: Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Madurai, Mumbai, Port Blair, Pune, Rajahmundry, Tuticorin
Paramount Airways: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Cochin, Coimbatore, Goa, Hyderabad, Madurai, Pune, Trichy, Trivandrum
SpiceJet: Ahmedabad, Bagdogra, Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune

Anna Terminal (International)

Airlines operating at the international terminal Airlines ↓: Destinations
Air Arabia: Sharjah
Air France: Paris-Charles de Gaulle (ends 30 March)
Air India: Dammam
Air India
operated by Indian Airlines: Mumbai
Air India Express: Colombo, Dubai, Hyderabad, Kuala Lumpur-Sepang, Kuwait City, Sharjah, Singapore, Trichy
Air Mauritius: Mauritius
British Airways: London-Heathrow
Cathay Pacific: Hong Kong
Emirates: Dubai
Etihad Airways: Abu Dhabi
Gulf Air: Bahrain
Indian Airlines: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Calicut, Cochin, Colombo, Dubai, Goa, Kuala Lumpur-Sepang, Kuwait City, Mumbai, Muscat, Sharjah, Singapore, Trichy, Trivandrum
Jet Airways: Brussels, Colombo, Dubai (begins 23 April), Kuala Lumpur-Sepang, New York-JFK, Singapore
JetLite: Colombo
Kingfisher Airlines: Colombo
Kuwait Airways: Kuwait City
Lufthansa: Frankfurt
Malaysia Airlines: Kuala Lumpur-Sepang
Oman Air: Muscat
Qatar Airways: Doha
Saudi Arabian Airlines: Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam
Singapore Airlines: Singapore
Sri Lankan Airlines: Colombo
Thai Airways International: Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Dubai
Tiger Airways: Singapore

Cargo Terminal

Cargo airlines at Chennai Airport:
Air India Cargo: Air France Cargo
Atlas Air: Alitalia
Blue Dart Aviation: British Airways World Cargo
Champion Air: Cathay Pacific Airways Cargo
Qatar Airways Cargo: DHL
Etihad Crystal Cargo: Emirates Sky Cargo
FedEx Express: Euro Cargo Air
Gemini Air Cargo: Flyington Freighters (Planned)
Great Wall Airlines: Global Supply Systems
Korean Air Cargo: Jett8 Airlines Cargo
MASkargo: Lufthansa Cargo
Singapore Airlines Cargo: Polar Air Cargo
Sri Lankan Airlines Cargo

MRO Hangar Facility

Airlines that have Hangar facilities at Chennai Airlines ↓
Air India
Indian Airlines
Jet Airways
Kingfisher Red
Paramount Airways

Chennai சென்னை

Chennai (Tamil: சென்னை), formerly known as Madras, is the fourth largest metropolitan area of India and the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, Chennai had a population of 4.2 million in the 2001 census within its municipal corporation. The urban agglomeration of Chennai has an estimated population over 8 million, making it one of the largest urban agglomerations in India.

The city was established in the 17th century by the British, who developed it into a major urban centre and naval base. By the 20th century, it had become an important administrative centre, as the capital of the Madras Presidency.

Chennai's economy has a broad industrial base in the automobile, technology, hardware manufacturing, and healthcare industries. The city is India's second largest exporter of software, information technology (IT) and information-technology-enabled services (ITES). A major chunk of India's automobile manufacturing industry is based in and around the city. Chennai Zone contributes 39 per cent of the State’s GDP. Chennai accounts for 60 per cent of the country’s automotive exports and is sometimes referred to as 'the Detroit of India'.

Chennai hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season, which includes performances by hundreds of artists. The city has a vibrant theatre scene and is an important centre for the Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form. The Tamil film industry, known as Kollywood, a second largest film industry in India, is based in the city; the soundtracks of the movies dominate its music scene. The city once faced water shortage problem but now it is traffic congestion and air pollution.


The name Chennai is an eponym, etymologically derived from Chennapattinam or Chennapattanam, the name of the town that grew up around Fort St. George, built by the British in 1640 A.D. There are different versions about the origin of the name. When the British landed here in 1639 A.D. it was said to be part of the empire of the Raja of Chandragiri. The British named it Chennapatnam after they acquired it from Chennappa Nayaka, a Vijayanagar chieftain. Gradually, the name was shortened to Chennai. The first instance of the use of the name Chennai is said to be in a sale deed dated August 1639 to Francis Day, an agent for the British where there is a reference to Chennaipattinam.

However, some believe Chennapattinam was named after the Chenna Kesava Perumal Temple, as the word Chenni in Tamil means face, and the temple was thought of as the face of the city.

The former name, Madras, is derived from Madraspattinam, a fishing village that lay to the north of Fort St. George. The origin of the name Madraspattinam is a subject of disagreement. One theory holds that the Portuguese, who arrived in the area in the 16th century, may have named the village Madre de Deus. However, historians believe that the village's name came from the once prominent Madeiros family (variously known as Madera or Madra in succeeding years), who had consecrated the Madre de Deus Church in Santhome in 1575 (demolished in 1997). After the British gained possession of the area in the 17th century, the two towns, Madraspattinam and Chennapattinam, eventually merged. The British referred to the united town as Madraspattinam, while the locals preferred to call it Chennapattinam.

The city was officially renamed Chennai in 1996, about the same time that many Indian cities were undergoing name changes. Madras was seen as a Portuguese name.

Main article: History of Chennai
Historical populations
Year: Pop.: %±
1871: 367,552: —
1881: 405,848: 10.4%
1891: 452,518: 11.5%
1901: 509,346: 12.6%
1911: 518,660: 1.8%
1921: 526,000: 1.4%
1931: 645,000: 22.6%
1941: 776,000: 20.3%
1951: 1,416,056: 82.5%
1961: 1,729,141: 22.1%
1971: 2,420,000: 40.0%
1981: 3,266,034: 35.0%
1991: 3,841,398: 17.6%
2001: 4,216,268: 9.8%
The city of Madras in 1909

The region around Chennai has served as an important administrative, military, and economic centre since the 1st century. It has been ruled by various South Indian dynasties, notably the Pallava, the Chera Dynasty, the Chola, the Pandya, and Vijaynagar. The town of Mylapore, now part of Chennai, was once a major Pallavan port. The Portuguese arrived in 1522 and built a port called São Tomé after the Christian apostle, St Thomas, who is believed to have preached in the area between 52 and 70 AD. In 1612, the Dutch established themselves near Pulicat, just north of the city.

On 22 August 1639, Francis Day of the British East India Company bought a small strip of land on the Coromandel Coast from the Vijayanagara King, Peda Venkata Raya in Chandragiri. The region was ruled by Damerla Venkatapathy, the Nayak of Vandavasi. He granted the British permission to build a factory and warehouse for their trading enterprises. A year later, the British built Fort St George, which became the nucleus of the growing colonial city.

In 1746, Fort St. George and Madras were captured by the French under General La Bourdonnais, the Governor of Mauritius, who plundered the town and its outlying villages. The British regained control in 1749 through the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and fortified the town's fortress wall to withstand further attacks from the French and another looming threat, Hyder Ali, the Sultan of Mysore. By the late 18th century, the British had conquered most of the region around Tamil Nadu and the northern modern-day states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, establishing the Madras Presidency with Madras as the capital. Under British rule, the city grew into a major urban centre and naval base.

With the advent of railways in India in the late 19th century, the thriving urban centre was connected to other important cities such as Bombay and Calcutta, promoting increased communication and trade with the hinterland. Madras was briefly under Portuguese and French rule during 16th & 18th century.

Madras was the only Indian city to be attacked by the Central Powers during World War I, when an oil depot was shelled by the German light cruiser SMS Emden on 22 September 1914, as it raided shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, causing disruption to shipping. After India gained its independence in 1947, the city became the capital of Madras State, renamed the state of Tamil Nadu in 1969. The violent agitations of 1965 against the imposition of Hindi as the national language, marked a major shift in the political dynamics of the city and the whole state.

In 2004, an Indian Ocean tsunami lashed the shores of Chennai, killing many and permanently altering the coastline.

Geography and climate

Chennai is on the southeast coast of India in the northeast of Tamil Nadu on a flat coastal plain known as the Eastern Coastal Plains. Its average elevation is around 6.7 metres (22 ft), and its highest point is 60 m (200 ft). The Marina Beach runs for 12 km along the shoreline of the city. Two rivers meander through Chennai, the Cooum River (or Koovam) through the centre and the Adyar River to the south. A third river, the Kortalaiyar, flows through the northern fringes of the city before draining into the sea at Ennore. Adyar and Cooum rivers are heavily polluted with effluents and waste from domestic and commercial sources. The state government periodically removes silt and pollution from the Adyar, which is much less polluted than the Cooum. A protected estuary on the Adyar forms a natural habitat for several species of birds and animals. The Buckingham Canal, 4 km (3 miles) inland, runs parallel to the coast, linking the two rivers. The Otteri Nullah, an east-west stream, runs through north Chennai and meets the Buckingham Canal at Basin Bridge. Several lakes of varying size are located on the western fringes of the city. Red Hills, Sholavaram and Chembarambakkam Lake supply Chennai with potable water. Groundwater sources are becoming brackish.

Chennai's soil is mostly clay, shale and sandstone. Sandy areas are found along the river banks and coasts, such as Tiruvanmiyur, Adyar, Kottivakkam, Santhome, George Town, Tondiarpet and the rest of coastal Chennai. Here rainwater runoff percolates quickly through the soil. Clay underlies most of the city including T. Nagar, West Mambalam, Anna Nagar, Villivakkam, Perambur and Virugambakkam. Areas of hard rock include Guindy, Perungudi,Velachery, Adambakkam and a part of Saidapet.

Chennai is divided into four parts: North, Central, South and West. North Chennai is primarily an industrial area. Central Chennai is the commercial heart of the city and includes an important business district, Parry's Corner. South Chennai and West Chennai, previously mostly residential, are fast becoming commercial, home to a growing number of information technology firms, financial companies and call centres. The city is expanding quickly along the Old Mahabalipuram Road and the Grand Southern Trunk Road (GST Road) in the south and towards Ambattur, Koyambedu and Sriperumbdur in the west. Chennai is one of the few cities in the world that accommodates a national park, the Guindy National Park, within its limits.

Chennai lies on the thermal equator and is also coastal, which prevents extreme variation in seasonal temperature. For most of the year, the weather is hot and humid. The hottest part of the year is late May and early June, known locally as Agni Nakshatram ('fire star') or as Kathiri Veyyil, with maximum temperatures around 38–42 °C (100–107 °F). The coolest part of the year is January, with minimum temperatures around 18–20 °C (64–68 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is 15.8 °C (60.44 °F) and highest 45 °C (113 °F). The average annual rainfall is about 1,300 mm (51 inches). The city gets most of its seasonal rainfall from the north-east monsoon winds, from mid-September to mid-December. Cyclones in the Bay of Bengal sometimes hit the city. Highest annual rainfall recorded is 2,570 mm (101 in) in 2005. The most prevailing winds in Chennai are the South-westerly between May and September and the North-easterly during the rest of the year.

Administration and utility services

Chennai city is governed by the Corporation of Chennai, consisting of 155 councillors who represent 155 wards and are directly elected by the city's residents. From among themselves, the councillors elect a mayor and a deputy mayor who preside over about six standing committees. Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, houses the state executive and legislative headquarters primarily in the Secretariat Buildings on the Fort St George campus but also in many other buildings scattered around the city. The Madras High Court, whose jurisdiction extends across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, is the highest judicial authority in the state and is also in the city. Chennai has three parliamentary constituencies—Chennai North, Chennai Central and Chennai South—and elects 18 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the state legislature.

The metropolitan region of Chennai covers many suburbs that are part of Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur districts. The larger suburbs are governed by town municipalities, and the smaller ones are governed by town councils called panchayats. While the city covers an area of 174 km² (67 mi²), the metropolitan area is spread over 1,189 km² (458 mi²). The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has drafted a Second Master Plan that aims to develop satellite townships around the city. Contiguous satellite towns include Mahabalipuram to the south, Chengalpattu and Maraimalai Nagar to the southwest, and Kanchipuram town, Sriperumpudur, Tiruvallur and Arakkonam to the west.

The Greater Chennai Police department, a division of the Tamil Nadu Police, is the law enforcement agency in the city. The city police force is headed by a commissioner of police, and administrative control rests with the Tamil Nadu Home Ministry. The department consists of 36 subdivisions with a total of 121 police stations. The city's traffic is managed by the Chennai City Traffic Police (CCTP). The Metropolitan suburbs are policed by the Chennai Metropolitan Police, and outer district areas are policed by the Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur police departments.

The Corporation of Chennai and municipalities of the suburbs provide civic services. Garbage in most zones is handled by Neel Metal Fanalica Environment Management, a private company, and by the Chennai Corporation in the other zones. Water supply and sewage treatment are handled by the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewage Board, popularly referred to as CMWSSB. Electricity is supplied by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. The city's telephone service is provided by six mobile phone companies and four landline companies, which also provide broadband Internet access, along with Sify and Hathway.

Historically, Chennai has relied on annual monsoon rains to replenish water reservoirs, as no major rivers flow through the area. Steadily growing in population, the city has faced water supply shortages, and its ground water levels have been depleted. An earlier Veeranam Lake project failed to solve the city's water problems, but the New Veeranam project, which became operational in September 2004, has greatly reduced dependency on distant sources. In recent years, heavy and consistent monsoon rains and rainwater harvesting (RWH) by Chennai Metrowater at its Anna Nagar Rain Centre have significantly reduced water shortages. Moreover, newer projects like the Telugu Ganga project that bring water from water-surplus rivers like the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh have eased water shortages. The city is constructing sea water desalination plants to further increase the water supply.


Chennai has a diversified economic base anchored by the automobile, software services, hardware manufacturing, healthcare and financial services industries. As of 2000, the city's total personal income was Rs. 12,488.83 crores, making up 10.9% of the total income of Tamil Nadu. In 2001, the total workforce in Chennai was about 1.5 million, which was 31.79% of its population. According to the 1991 census, most of the city's workforce was involved in trade (25.65%), manufacturing (23.52%), transportation (10.72%), construction (6.3%) and other services (31.8%). Chennai metropolitan area accounts for over 75% of the sales tax revenue in the state. According to the CII, Chennai's is estimated to grow to a $100-billion economy, 2.5 times its present size, by the year 2025.

The city is base to around 30% of India's automobile industry and 35% of its auto components industry. A large number of automotive companies including Hyundai, Ford, BMW, Mitsubishi, The TVS Group (TVS), Ashok Leyland, Nissan-Renault, TI Cycles of India, TAFE Tractors, Royal Enfield, Caterpillar Inc., Caparo, Madras Rubber Factory (MRF) and Michelin have manufacturing plants in and around Chennai. The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi produces military vehicles, including India's main battle tank: Arjun MBT. The Integral Coach Factory manufactures railway coaches and other rolling stock for Indian Railways. This very industrial expanse has given the name to Chennai as being the 'Detroit of Southern Asia'. The Ambattur-Padi industrial zone houses many textile manufacturers, and an SEZ for apparel and footwear manufacture has been set up in the southern suburbs of the city. Chennai contributes more than 50% of India's leather exports.

The city is an electronics manufacturing hub where multinational corporations like Dell, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Flextronics and Foxconn have set up electronics and hardware manufacturing plants, mainly in the Sriperumbudur Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Many software and software services companies have development centres in Chennai, which contributed 14% of India's total software exports of Rs.144,214 crores during 2006–07, making it the second-largest exporter of software in the country, behind Bangalore. Prominent financial institutions, including the World Bank, HSBC, Citi bank have back office operations in the city. Chennai is home to three large national level commercial banks and many state level co-operative banks, finance and insurance companies. Some of India's well-known healthcare institutions such as Apollo Hospitals (the largest private healthcare provider in Asia), Sankara Nethralaya and Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre are based in the city, making it one of the preferred destinations for medical tourists from across the globe. Telecom giants Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and chemicals giant Dow Chemicals have research and development facilities in Chennai. TICEL bio-tech park and Golden Jubilee bio-tech park at Siruseri house biotechnology companies and laboratories. Chennai has a fully computerised stock exchange called the Madras Stock Exchange.


A resident of Chennai is called a Chennaiite. As of 2001, Chennai city had a population of 4.34 million, while the total metropolitan population was 7.04 million. The estimated metropolitan population in 2006 is 4.5 million. In 2001, the population density in the city was 24,682 per km² (63,926 per mi²), while the population density of the metropolitan area was 5,922 per km² (15,337 per mi²), making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The sex ratio is 951 females for every 1,000 males, slightly higher than the national average of 934. The average literacy rate is 80.14%, much higher than the national average of 64.5%. The city has the fourth highest population of slum dwellers among major cities in India, with about 820,000 people (18.6% of its population) living in slum conditions. This number represents about 5% of the total slum population of India. In 2005, the crime rate in the city was 313.3 per 100,000 people, accounting for 6.2% of all crimes reported in major cities in India. The number of crimes in the city showed a significant increase of 61.8% from 2004.

The majority of the population in Chennai are Tamilians. Tamil is the primary language spoken in Chennai. English is widely spoken especially in business, education and white collar professions. Sizeable Telugu and Malayalee communities live in the city. Urdu is spoken among a sizeable proportion of Muslims living in the city. Chennai also has a large migrant population, who come from other parts of Tamil Nadu and the rest of the country. As of 2001, out of the 937,000 migrants (21.57% of its population) in the city, 74.5% were from other parts of the state, 23.8% were from rest of India and 1.7% were from outside the country. According to the 2001 census, Hindus constitute about 82.27% of the city's population, and Muslims (8.37%), Christians (7.63%) and Jains (1.05%) are other major religious groups.


Chennai is the Musical and Cultural Capital of India. The city is known for its classical dance shows and Hindu temples. Every December, Chennai holds a five-week long Music Season celebrating the 1927 opening of the Madras Music Academy. It features performances (kutcheries) of traditional Carnatic music by hundreds of artists in and around the city. An arts festival called the Chennai Sangamam, which showcases various arts of Tamil Nadu is held in January every year. Chennai is also known for Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form that originated in Tamil Nadu. An important cultural centre for Bharatanatyam is Kalakshetra, on the beach in the south of the city. Chennai is also home to some of the best choirs in India, who during the Christmas season stage various carol performances across the city in Tamil and English. The Madras Musical Association (MMA) is one of the oldest and prestigious choirs in India and has staged performances across the world.

Chennai is the base for the large Tamil movie industry, dubbed Kollywood after Kodambakkam, home to most of the movie studios. The industry makes more than 150 Tamil movies a year, and its soundtracks dominate the city's music. Some of the biggest names in the Indian film fraternity like Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Mani Ratnam and S. Shankar are based out of Chennai. A. R. Rahman took Chennai to international fame by winning two Oscar awards in 2009 for the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Chennai's theaters stage many Tamil plays; political satire, slapstick comedy, history, mythology and drama are among the popular genres. English plays are also staged in the city.

Among Chennai's festivals, Pongal is celebrated over five days in January, is the most important. Almost all major religious festivals such as Deepavali, Eid and Christmas are celebrated in Chennai. Tamil cuisine in Chennai includes vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Many of the city's restaurants offer light meals or tiffin, which usually include rice-based dishes like pongal, dosa, idli and vadai, served with steaming hot filter coffee.


The Chennai International Airport, comprising the Anna international terminal and the Kamaraj domestic terminal, is the third busiest airport in India. The city is connected to major hubs in South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America through more than 30 national and international carriers. The airport is the second busiest cargo terminus in the country. The existing airport is undergoing further modernisation and expansion, and a new greenfield airport is to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 2,000 crore in Sriperumbudur. The city is served by two major ports, Chennai Port, one of the largest artificial ports, and Ennore Port. The Chennai port is India's second busiest container hub, handling automobiles, motorcycles and general industrial cargo. The Ennore Port handles cargo such as coal, ore and other bulk and rock mineral products. A smaller harbour at Royapuram is used by local fishing boats and trawlers.

Chennai is well connected to other parts of India by road and rail. Five major national highways radiate outward towards Mumbai, Kolkata, Trichy, Tiruvallur and Pondicherry. The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT), the terminus for all intercity buses from Chennai, is the largest bus station in Asia. Seven government-owned transport corporations operate inter-city and inter-state bus services. Many private inter-city and inter-state bus companies also operate services to and from Chennai.

The city has two main railway terminals. Chennai Central station, the city's largest, provides access to trains to major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram as well as to smaller towns across India. Chennai Egmore is a terminus for trains traveling primarily within Tamil Nadu; it also handles a few inter-state trains.

Buses, trains, and auto rickshaws are the most common form of public transport within the city.
One of the newer MTC buses

The Chennai suburban railway network consists of four broad gauge rail sectors terminating at two locations in the city, namely Chennai Central and Chennai Beach. Regular services are offered in the following sectors from these terminii: Chennai Central/Chennai Beach - Arakkonam - Tiruttani, Chennai Central/Chennai Beach – Gummidipoondi - Sullurpeta and Chennai Beach – Tambaram - Chengalpattu - Tirumalpur(Kanchipuram). The fourth sector is an elevated Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) which links Chennai Beach to Velachery and is interlinked with the remaining rail network. The city has plans for an underground Metro.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) runs an extensive city bus system consisting of 3262 buses on 637 routes and transports an estimated 5 million passengers daily.

Vans, popularly known as Maxi Cabs and 'share' auto rickshaws ply many routes in the city and provide an alternative to buses. Metered call taxis, tourist taxis and auto rickshaws are also available on hire. Chennai's transportation infrastructure provides coverage and connectivity, but growing use has caused traffic congestion and pollution. The government has tried to address these problems by constructing grade separators and flyovers at major intersections, starting with the Gemini flyover, built in 1973 over the most important arterial road, Anna Salai.


Newspaper publishing started in Chennai with the launch of a weekly, The Madras Courier, in 1785. It was followed by the weeklies The Madras Gazzette and The Government Gazzette in 1795. The Spectator, founded in 1836, was the first English newspaper in Chennai to be owned by an Indian and became the city's first daily newspaper in 1853. The first Tamil newspaper, Swadesamitran, was launched in 1899.

The major English dailies published in Chennai are The Hindu, The New Indian Express, The Deccan Chronicle and The Times of India recently joined the list. The evening dailies are, The Trinity Mirror and The News Today. As of 2004, The Hindu was the city's most read English newspaper, with a daily circulation of 267,349. The major business dailies published from the city are The Economic Times, The Hindu Business Line, Business Standard, and The Financial Express. The major Tamil dailies include the Dina Thanthi, Dinakaran, Dina Mani, Dina Malar, Tamil Murasu, Makkal Kural and Malai Malar and major Telugu dailies include Eenandu, Vaartha, Andhra Jyothi and Sakshi. Neighbourhood newspapers such as The Annanagar Times and The Adyar Times cater to particular localities. Magazines published from Chennai include Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam, Kalki, Kungumam, 'Thuglak',Swathi (Telugu magazine), Frontline and Sportstar.

Doordarshan runs two terrestrial television channels and two satellite television channels from its Chennai centre, which was set up in 1974. Private Tamil satellite television networks like Sun TV, Raj TV, Raj Digital Plus, Zee Tamil, Star Vijay, Jaya TV, Makkal TV, Vasanth Tv and Kalaignar TV broadcast out of Chennai. The Sun Network one of India's largest broadcasting companies is based in the city. While SCV and Hathway are the major cable TV service providers, Direct-to-home (DTH) is available via DD Direct Plus, Dish TV, Tata Sky, Reliance Big TV, Sun Direct and very recently Digital TV(Airtel-Bharti). Chennai is the first city in India to have implemented the Conditional Access System for cable television. Radio broadcasting started from the radio station at the Rippon Buildings complex, founded in 1930 and was then shifted to All India Radio in 1938. The city has two AM and ten FM radio stations, operated by Anna University, All India Radio and private broadcasters.


Schools in Chennai are either run publicly by the Tamil Nadu government or privately, some with financial aid from the government. The medium of education is either English or Tamil. Most schools are affiliated with the Tamil Nadu State Board, the Matriculation Board or the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). A few schools are affiliated with the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) board, Anglo-Indian board or the Montessori system. Schooling begins at the age of three with two years of kindergarten followed by ten years of primary and secondary education. Students then need to complete two years of higher secondary education in either science or commerce before being eligible for college education in a general or professional field of study. There are 1,389 schools in the city, out of which 731 are primary, 232 are secondary and 426 are higher secondary schools.

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) and College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University, founded in 1794 are two well known centres for engineering education in the city; most city colleges that offer engineering programs are affiliated to Anna University, the noted ones being Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering (SVCE) and Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering (SSN). Madras Medical College (MMC), Stanley Medical College (SMC), Kilpauk Medical College and Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute (SRMC) are the notable medical colleges in Chennai.

Colleges for science, arts and commerce degrees are typically affiliated with the University of Madras, which has three campuses in the city; some colleges such as Madras Christian College, Loyola College and The New College are autonomous. Research institutions like the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI) and the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) are in the city. The Connemara Public Library is one of four National Depository Centres in India that receive a copy of all newspapers and books published in India. It has been declared a UNESCO information centre.


Cricket is the most popular sport in Chennai. The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (MAC) in Chepauk is one of the oldest cricket stadiums in India. The Chemplast Cricket Ground on the IIT Madras campus is another important venue hosting first class matches. Plans are also underway to build an ultra modern cricket stadium, near Chennai, which would be ready for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Prominent cricketers from the city include former Test-captains S. Venkataraghavan and Kris Srikkanth. A cricket fast bowling academy, the MRF Pace Foundation, whose coaches include Dennis Lillee, is based in Chennai. Chennai is home to the Indian Premier League cricket team, the Chennai Super Kings. Chennai is also home to the Indian Cricket League team, the Chennai Superstars, who won the first ever ICL 20s championship and the ICL Domestic 50s.

The Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium is regarded by the International Hockey Federation as one of the best in the world for its state-of-the-art infrastructure. The city is home to a Premier Hockey League (PHL) team, the Chennai Veerans, and has hosted many hockey tournaments such as the Asia Cup and the Men's Champions Trophy.

Chennai has produced popular tennis players such as Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnanand is host to an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) event, the Chennai Open, ATP World Tour 250 series the country's only (ATP) event.

Football and athletic competitions are held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which also houses a multi-purpose indoor complex for competition in volleyball, basketball and table tennis. Water sports are played in the Velachery Aquatic Complex. Chennai was the venue of the South Asian Games (SAF Games) in 1995.

Auto racing in India has been closely connected with Chennai since its beginnings shortly after independence. Motor racing events are held on a special purpose track in Irungattukottai, Sriperumbudur, which has also been the venue for several international competitions. Horse racing is held at the Guindy Race Course, while rowing competitions are hosted at the Madras Boat Club. The city has two 18-hole golf courses, the Cosmopolitan Club and the Gymkhana Club, both established in the late nineteenth century. Viswanathan Anand, the chess World champion, grew up in Chennai.

Other athletes of repute from Chennai include table tennis players Sharath Kamal and two-time world carrom champion, Maria Irudayam. The city has a rugby union team called the Chennai Cheetahs.

Consulates and Sister Cities

The list of Consulates, Embassies and High Commissions present in Chennai are as follows:

* Austrian Consulate
* Embassy of Belgium
* British High Commission
* Consulate of Chile
* Canadian Consulate
* Embassy of Czech Republic
* Danish Consulate
* Finland Consulate
* French Consulate
* German Consulate
* Greece Consulate
* Hungary Consulate
* Iceland Consulate
* Indonesian Consulate
* Consulate of Italy
* Japanese Consulate
* Consulate of South Korea
* Kyrgyz Consulate
* Luxembourg Consulate
* Malawian Consulate
* Malaysian Embassy
* Maldivian Consulate
* Mauritian Consulate
* Consulate of New Zealand
* Consulate of Netherlands
* Norwegian Consulate
* Philippines Consulate
* Embassy of Russian Federation
* Serbian Consulate
* Singapore Consulate
* Consulate of Spain
* Sri Lankan High Commission
* Embassy of Sweden
* Consulate of Switzerland
* Turkish Consulate General
* Turkmen Consulate General
* US Consulate

Chennai has Sister City relationships with the following cities of the world.
Country: City: State / Region: Since
United States: San Antonio: Texas: 2007
Germany: Frankfurt: Hesse: 2005
Egypt: Cairo: Cairo Governorate: 2000
United States: Denver: Colorado: 1984
Russia: Volgograd: Volgograd Oblast: 1966

This webpage was updated 27th January 2020