Greenfield airport proposed at Tuni. The talk in political circles that the Navy is a hindrance for further expansion of the airport has fuelled apprehensions that the airport would be shifted.

The talk of developing a Greenfield International Airport near Tuni, some 120 km away from the city, and the possible shifting of the existing Visakhapatnam international airport is drawing flak from various sections.

Augmenting the existing infrastructure and removing the bottlenecks in the smooth operation of the airport would be a better idea rather than forcing the people of the city to travel the distance to reach the new airport.

Those connected with the airline industry wonder as to the need for one more airport when the existing one can meet the requirements from the region for the next 10 to 15 years. They feel that the move was aimed at promoting private developers.

The Visakhapatnam airport is used by air travellers from Vizianagaram and Srikakulam and also to some extent by those from Odisha and Chattisgarh to travel by the Silk Air flight from Vizag to Singapore. There is talk that the Navy is planning to take over the airport for its fighter pilot training base. The talk in political circles that the Navy is a hindrance for further expansion of the airport has fuelled apprehensions that the airport would be shifted.

“The Navy was allotted 5,000 acres of land for the Naval Alternative Operating Base (NAOB) at Rambilli in the district. The Naval authorities can establish an air station to meet their operational and training requirements there and leave the Visakhapatnam international airport for civilian operations,” feels an Airport Authority of India (AAI) official.

“At a time, when there are plans to revive the Bangalore and Begumpet airports, it’s futile to even consider closing an existing airport. The costs would go up for the passengers as a Greenfield Airport would be developed in the PPP-mode”.

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