Indian Navy has expressed its readiness to operate the Visakhapatnam Airport beyond the existing timings of 12 hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. if any airline showed interest in operating their services during those times.
The Deputy Chief of Naval Staff R.K. Dhawan in reply on Thursday to a letter written by Air Travellers' Association of India has asked the association to obtain ‘Expression of Interest' from any airline that was interested in operating during those hours in the summer schedule beginning March 27. While finalising the Winter Schedule in September last year, the DGCA, AAI and Navy representative discussed about the factor, but due to lack of interest shown by any airline, the timings were not extended, he said.
Giving a list of revision of timings done on March 30, 2008 (9 hours); June 22, 2009 (11 hours) and March 28, 2010 (12 hours); the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff said that Navy was ready to facilitate civil airline operations as per the growing demand by extending the watch hours.
The ATA president D. Varada Reddy without naming the naming the airlines, claimed that two international airlines were ready to operate their services and some of the domestic airlines proposed to fly to new destinations like Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Port Blair from March and if the Indian Navy extended its watch hours to 24 hours, it would work as an incentive for many other airlines to operate either prior to 8 a.m. or beyond 8 p.m.
Currently only 26 flights were being operated during the 12 hours, while there was scope to operate many more.