Favourable reply to Rosaiah's letter to Union Ministry likely next month

International flights may very soon begin to land at the Visakhapatnam airport with the State Government taking firm initiative to get permission from the Union Government to formally declare it an International Airport.

The Department of Investment and Infrastructure now with Chief Minister Konijeti Roshaiah has written to Ministry of Civil Aviation to accord the requisite permission for the airport and a favourable reply was likely in July. The State Government was regularly reviewing the status of the demand in order to help bring foreign investment to north Andhra region.

Only hurdle

Only hurdle as of now is with timings as Indian Navy permits operations only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., which does not attract many airlines to schedule their operations only during day time. From the data available with the Air Travellers' Association of India, about 6 lakh people annually go either to Hyderabad, Chennai or Mumbai to take flights to South East and West Asia from coastal region extending from Berhampur to Bhimavaram.

Emirates Airlines, Air Arabia, and Silk Airways were showing interest in beginning their operations from Vizag in view of great potential and Spice Jet now taken over by Kalanidhi Maran would also qualify this year to operate international flights as it would complete 5 years of domestic operations.

The Vizag airport has Night Landing Facility and the Instrument Landing Facility with 10,030 feet runway enough to accommodate landing of Boeing 747s and Airbus 340. This is also one of the 18 airports in the country recognised for operating unlimited number of flights under Open Sky Policy and as part of ASEAN Agreement this has been projected as one the potential ones.

It is already a Customs airport and Ministry of External Affair along with local police has to set up an immigration checking post also. Passenger intake should be 700 per hour to have the status.

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