“Efforts on to obtain Finance Ministry’s nod on staff deployment”

The international airport in Visakhapatnam will commence 24x7 operations in a month’s time, and all efforts are being made for obtaining the Finance Ministry’s nod for deploying more staff of the Defence Ministry at the air traffic control and other administrative wings of the airport.

Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy told The Hindu here that he had taken up the issue with the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office. “I hope everything will be through in a month’s time,” he added.

The airport, which is under the control of the Indian Navy’s air station, INS Dega, initially functioned between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Later, the timings were extended up to 8 p.m. Recently, the Defence Ministry had given its nod to further extend the timings till 11 p.m.

If round-the-clock operations are allowed, there would be more foreign exchange and revenue to the exchequer as many international flight operators are keen on providing services to the City of Destiny.

Tourist destination

Mr. Reddy said he had written a letter to Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Delhi Prasada Kariyawasam to impress upon the Sri Lankan Airlines or its subsidiary to operate Visakhapatnam-Colombo flight thrice in a week.

As 33 Buddhist sites were identified in the Visakhapatnam region, such operations would make the city a good tourist and business destination, the letter said.

The air passenger load in the city, which was one million during 2011, is expected to go up by 20 per cent during 2012 and further in the years to come.

Presently, one international flight — Vizag-Dubai via Hyderabad — is being operated daily.

The SilkAir has plans to operate Vizag-Singapore flight from October 1.

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