Delay in putting in place the facility is affecting flight operations, says Muthavarapu Muralikrishna

Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Muthavarapu Muralikrishna on Monday said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) did not take precautions while installing the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Vijayawada airport.

The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has raised objections over its usage as it is closer to the NH-5.

“Now, the DGCA says the communication system of the ILS will be affected due to heavy vehicle traffic on NH-5 and suggested shifting it to some distance towards the runway,” Mr. Muralikrishna said.

He blamed the AAI for the present state of affairs, as the highway problem was not new and it could have been avoided had the officials planned the installation properly.

Runway expansion

“The ILS equipment is lying at the airport for more than two years and its parts are shifted for installations at Kochi, Tirupati, and Agati airports. During the current winter season, flight schedules have gone haywire, leading to cancellations, and this could have been avoided,” Mr. Muralikrishna added.

However, he appreciated the AAI for taking up the extension of the runway and other allied works at the airport, resulting in more flights landing, including the wide-bodied aircraft.

But the absence of ILS has become an obstacle during the early morning and late evenings and nights. Many are willing to operate around these times if the ILS is installed. Mr. Muralikrishna said a local business group had ventured into the civil aviation sector and started a new airline – Air Costa, which would take wing in June 2012.

“Besides its aircraft base, Air Costa also desires to set up its engineering base at Vijayawada. Air Costa has plans to connect Vijayawada with several cities in South India and later with more cities in the country.”

He said, with a non-operational ILS, Air Costa may face difficulty and sought the immediate intervention of the AAI officials in reinstalling it before June.

Cargo hub

The operators are also willing to enter the cargo business, as Vijayawada and Guntur are considered hubs of commercial activities. The AAI should provide necessary infrastructure by way of establishing godowns and special X-ray machines to the airline companies to help them undertake cargo business.

He requested the AAI chief to depute an empowered team to assess the situation at the airport and take steps towards improving facilities.

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