Air Travellers’ Association of India organises round-table

There is a tremendous potential for air exports from the city and urgent measures are required to facilitate handling of export and import cargo, said the speakers at a round-table on air exports organised by Air Travellers’ Association of India -- ATA (I) -- in association with the Vizagapatam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Monday.

Lack of handling facilities for outbound export cargo at the airport has deprived Air India Visakhapatnam – Dubai flight (via Hyderabad) of utilising its cargo hold of four tons for nearly a year. They sought that all the agencies involved like the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Navy, Customs and AP Trade Promotion Corporation (APTPC) should ensure that cargo handling facilities were improved at the airport.

Rajya Sabha Member T. Subbarami Reddy recalled his efforts in getting various amenities at the airport over the years. He said that was made possible through constant follow-up with the authorities concerned, persuasion and personal rapport with the officials. He felt that such efforts were required even now to keep things moving.

He said that though the Government of India had sanctioned manpower, the Navy was saying it would take a long time for operating the airport round the clock in view of recruitment and specialised training.

Mr. Subbarami Reddy said that he had not bothered about this issue for the past few months as other political leaders were trying to do something. “Since they had failed, I promise to take up the issue of 24-hour operations and posting of an Additional Drugs Controller in Visakhapatnam besides trying to promote tourism in Visakhapatnam,” he said.

Airport Director K. Srinivasa Rao said that temporary arrangements were made for cargo exports within certain limitations of size and weight. He was optimistic that the cargo terminal would be completed by August this year.

Cold storage

AP Trade Promotion Corporation (APTPC) Manager Srimannarayana Rao sought provision of space and screening facilities for cargo handling at the airport. A cold storage was also required for perishable goods.

ATA (I) president D. Varada Reddy said that the objective of the round-table was to expedite air exports and infrastructure development at the airport. He said that Air Arabia was planning to operate flights to Sharjah, IndiGo to Singapore and Colombo and felt that 24-hour operation of the airport was a must for more international carriers to come to Vizag.

Station Manager of Air India, V.T. Jairaj, Director of GSEC Limited Samir Mankad, Executive Director of Hospira India K.V. Raju, Capt. Sriram Ravi Chander of Visakha Container Terminal Private Limited (VCTPL) and VCCI president K. Ramabrahmam were among those who participated.

More In: Visakhapatnam