CHENNAI, India – Formerly known as Madras Airport, Chennai International Airport (MAA) in Chennai, India is the country’s third busiest airport. The airport was originally built to handle four million passengers per year with over 25 different airlines. In recent years, over 10 million people were using the airport, making an expansion of the facility long overdue. Located in South India and 7km from Chennai (an economic and cultural center of more than five million people), the airport had three terminals – a cargo terminal and domestic terminal linked to the international terminal – and two runways.

Adding 4x original capacity
The US$500 million expansion project expanded the international terminal and added a new domestic passenger terminal, a multi-level car parking facility, and a parallel runway built across the Adyar River. The new terminal buildings cover 140,000m2 and passenger capacity was increased to 16 million per year.

The immediate proximity of the airport to the Bay of Bengal and the fluctuating ground water level (-10m in summer and -3m during monsoon) demanded thorough protection of all concrete structures and the concrete joints in the basement (10m deep).

Protecting the foundation
The protection of the basement slabs and retaining walls on the Chennai Airport was achieved by adding PENETRON ADMIX crystalline waterproofing admixture directly into the concrete at the time of batching; PENEBAR SW-45 swellable-type waterstops were used to prevent water ingress along the concrete joints. In total, 125 tons of PENETRON ADMIX and 15000 meters of PENEBAR SW-45 were used for the airport. The PENETRON technology keeps water from penetrating into the concrete matrix even under high hydrostatic pressures and also provides protection against corrosion and chemical attacks.

“The successful expansion of Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 3 served as a benchmark for Chennai,” adds Jozef van Beeck, International Sales & Marketing Director of PENETRON. “PENETRON ADMIX used for the new concrete structures enabled significant time and cost savings for the project and also significantly reduces any future maintenance expenses.”

Greenest airport in India
The new airport design encompasses sustainable technologies that make Chennai Airport the greenest airport in India. Environmental features include:

  • Two lush, ecologically sustainable gardens each covering almost one acre (4,046m2) in the domestic and international terminals
  • Terminal roofs are wing-shaped to help to collect water to irrigate the gardens
  • Parking garage “green” roof captures water in cisterns during the rainy seasons, to irrigate the roof foliage during dry seasons

While not widely adopted yet in India, the LEED rating system served as a guideline for the sustainable technology implemented at the Chennai Airport. Underlining the “green approach” on the Chennai Airport expansion, PENETRON concrete crystallization products are non-toxic, often used in projects containing potable water.

“Sustainable construction goes beyond lower maintenance costs,” adds Robert Revera, CEO of the PENETRON Group. “Integrating PENETRON waterproofing technology in ‘green’ designs has a huge impact on large structures such as the Chennai Airport by substantially reducing the amount of resources and energy they consume over time.”