G. Ravikiran

Foundation stone was laid recently for works worth Rs. 44 crores

Kolkata-based Avanti and Agarwal Company secures the contract

New terminal building is kept in abeyance for now, just as several other works

VIJAYAWADA: At long last, things are moving hopefully in favour of the extension of the runway at the Gannavaram airport and also for several other expansion works, as per the plans of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). Foundation stone was laid recently for works worth Rs. 44 crores at the airport amidst the participation of local AAI officials and contractors.

Kolkata-based Avanti and Agarwal Company, which secured the contract, has started the works for giving a facelift to the airport. The equipment relating to extension, strengthening and development of the runway has been made available on the airport premises.

The prime objective of these works is to extend the runway by 663 metres additionally so that bigger aircraft like Airbus 320 and 321 with a seating capacity of 185 to 225 seats are able to land. The runway is now 1,743 metres long.

Airport officials say that in addition to the runway extension, other works like runway strengthening will be carried out in this phase of development. They point out that the runway has to be made stronger for it to take additional load with the landing of bigger aircraft in future. Other works include taxiways and apron development.

The works are expected to be completed in a year time and the officials are convinced of the possibility of allowing the landing of Airbus 320 and 321 next year. In view of the increasing traffic from the city to different destinations, the officials are confident of good potential for the airliners to run bigger aircrafts.

With these expansion works, there will be scope for the parking of even Airbus 320 in the facilities being created newly at the airport. Officials say there is more space available even after extending the runway by 663 metres. They say that the remaining space will be developed in the next phase of expansion.

The officials say that the development of new terminal building is kept in abeyance for now, just as several other works. The process of acquiring 506 acres as per a memorandum of understanding with the State Government is still on, they point out.