With division of Andhra Pradesh looking imminent, the focus has shifted to improving the existing infrastructure in Seemandhra region. On November 27 the Airport Development Committee meeting to be organised in Vijayawada will be yet another occasion for the stakeholders to put forward their demand/viewpoint.

The Gannavaram Airport Director B.G. Patil said that he had convened the meeting with district Collector, Commissioner of Police, Municipal Commissioner, MP, MLA, representatives of Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders.

The Airport Director told The Hindu that he sent a blueprint and an estimate of Rs.100 crore for the development of a new passenger terminal and other connected buildings post expansion of the airport. The State government has issued a land acquisition notice that was pending for a long time. The government has also released Rs.130 crore for the land acquisition. Ground-level surveys over the process of acquisition will be quicker, feels Mr. Patil.

“The existing runway will be expanded from 7,500 feet to 9,500 feet up to the irrigation canal, once the land is handed over to Airports Authority of India, and works will be taken up at a fast pace,” said Mr. Patil. Once the approval for the Rs.100-crore works are received from the AAI Board authorities, a detailed estimate would be prepared, based on the designs already available with the airport Director.

Expansion plan

The entry point from National Highway No.5 will be shifted 230 meters towards the city from the existing one according to the proposed expansion plans.

A two-storied passenger lounge with a cafeteria in the first floor, as the number of passengers -- from the current 250 a day --will go up significantly. Once runway expansion takes place wide-bodied aircraft can also land here.

Meanwhile, the airport is in the process of installation and testing of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcasting that will show the data of aircraft flying within 250 nautical miles from Gannavaram. Once expanded, aerobridges are needed, fully air-conditioned lounges, shifting of the existing communication set-up DVOR is essential.

ATC tower

The Air Traffic Control tower will also come up in a seven-storey building to provide better view of the expanded runway. The airport currently has Instrument Landing System and night landing facility also.

If commercial airlines find passengers, even late night flights can be introduced between Hyderabad and Vijayawada or other destinations.

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