The opening up of the airport round-the-clock three days a week has not brought any new flights to the city.

The opening up of the airport round-the-clock three days a week has not brought any new flights to the city. While authorities say that they can open up the airport 24/7 at short notice as the systems are already in place, air travel associations feel that 24/7 operation of the airport is a must to attract new airlines.

“We have written letters to all agencies and informed both domestic and international airline operators of the 24-hour operations thrice a week. There is no response from them so far. We suggested extension of the IndiGo Mumbai-Hyderabad flight to Visakhapatnam. It can be operated next day from Vizag at 5 a.m. without disturbing the present schedule of the flight,” Airport Director K. Srinivasa Rao said.

“We have also sought extension of the SpiceJet bombardier flight from Cochin, Bangalore and Indore to Visakhapatnam. The flights can be extended without disturbing their existing schedules. There is ample parking space at the airport. Once more and more operators park their aircraft during the nights, a maintenance base can be developed,” he said.

The upcoming industries in the region are also predicted to boost both passenger and cargo traffic to and from Visakhapatnam Airport. “Hospira Inc. has set up one of the world’s largest injection manufacturing plant at the Jawaharalal Nehru Pharma City in the district. Trial runs have already begun and the plant is expected to begin commercial production in December this year,” Industries Commissioner Rajat Kumar told The Hindu during his recent visit to the city.

“The top brass of Hospira, who live on the east coast of The USA, have sought an evening flight to Delhi as they wish to travel via Delhi and not Mumbai. We have spoken to Air India and also to IndiGo in this regard,” Mr. Srinivasa Rao said.

Morning flights

The availability of morning flights from Delhi to Vizag and evening flights to Delhi will be a boon to business travellers.

“In the absence of an evening flight to Delhi, we are forced to come here in the evening, stay overnight and begin our work the next morning. Even when we finish by evening, there is no return flight, forcing us to spend another night in Vizag. This is forcing business travellers to spend two day extra nights,” says a business visitor who frequents Vizag.

Meanwhile, the passenger traffic for a single month has recorded an all-time high of 1,02,535 during last month (May 2013). The traffic at 10,38,958 during 2012-13 grew by 8.05 per cent over the previous year.

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