J. Balaji

MoU signed for modernisation

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Rs. 3-crore work to install night landing facilities in the World War II airport in Rajahmundry will be ready in a month.

The work includes installing Doppler Very High Frequency Omni Range Navigation (DVOR) in the small airport which is about 8 km. north of Rajahmundry. Sources say the work along with the construction of a new terminal to accommodate 150 passengers (from the present 10 passengers) and expanding the present runway from 5830 feet to 7500 feet, are part of the Rs.23 crore MoU signed by the Andhra Pradesh government with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) in February last year for modernising the airport.

While the construction of the new terminal building is progressing, the runway expansion proposal is stalled by the problem of land acquisition.

The small airport was used by Vayudoot flights between 1985 and 1994 and presently Deccan Aviation is operating an ATR-72 propeller aircraft on the Hyderabad-Rajahmundry-Chennai and back route. Besides, the air strip is extensively used by the helicopters of the ONGC and other government agencies for its offshore oil exploration operations.

Sources add that the air connectivity to Rajahmundry will improve once the runway is expanded as it will be easy for the people in East and West Godavari and Khammam districts to get a flight.