The Indian Navy has announced that 24-hour operations will commence at the Visakhapatnam Airport from March 1.
The round-the-clock operations will be initially for three days a week -- on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It may be recalled that the Finance Ministry had approved the recruitment of additional manpower required for manning the airport 24/7, during the end of September last year.
Though manpower was sanctioned subsequently, the Navy had not deploy them immediately on the plea that they would have to be given specialised training which could take several months.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry D. Purandeswari and Rajya Sabha Member T. Subbarami Reddy had been pursuing the matter with the Finance and Defence Ministers for introduction of round-the-clock operations.
The Visakhapatnam Air Travellers Association (VATA) and Air Travellers Association (India) had also suggested redeployment of some experienced personnel from other airports in the country and posting new recruits there to tide over the problem.
The Navy hoped that more airlines would come forward to avail of the increased operation hours of the airport, as considerable resources in terms of manpower and services are required in running 24-hour operations.
The operation hours of the airport would be reviewed after six months, would be increased further, if there was adequate demand for scheduled flights, a Navy release added.
VATA Executive Board Members Naresh Kumar, Vishnu Kumar Raju, Cheruvu Ramakotaiah and Kumar Raju thanked Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, the FOC-in-C of the ENC, Ms. D. Purandeswari and Minister for Infrastructure and Investment Ganta Srinivasa Rao for their efforts in this regard. They requested the Navy to extend 24/7 operations on all seven days.