B. Madhu Gopal
It will have aerobridges from Indonesia, conveyor belts from Portugal and chiller plant from Malaysia
Finishing works like flooring going on at a brisk pace
Silk Air, Lankan Airlines ready to operate services
VISAKHAPATNAM: The airport authorities are in an upbeat mood in view of the tremendous growth in passenger traffic and an anticipated further growth. International carriers are ready to operate their flights from the city once the new terminal building starts functioning and 24-hour operations begin at the airport.
“The new terminal building will be ready for inauguration by December-end this year. Eighty per cent of the work has already been completed and finishing works like flooring are going on at a brisk pace. Elevators and escalators have already been installed and the building work would be completed by October-end. Shifting of airline offices to the new building would take another month,” General Manager (Projects), Airports Authority of India, H.S. Suresh told The Hindu.
“The new building would have aerobridges from Indonesia, conveyor belts from Portugal and AC chiller plant from Malaysia. The original schedule for commissioning of new terminal building was June this year but was delayed due to non-supply of conveyor belts by the Portugal company,” he said.
“After all the things are in place, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security would conduct a check and give its clearance after which the new terminal building would become operational. Customs and immigrations facilities would be in place once the new building starts functioning. We are in touch with immigration officials,” he said.
“Silk Air, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, and Sri Lankan Airlines have already expressed their readiness to operate flights to Visakhapatnam. They are awaiting completion of the new terminal building. Apart from passenger traffic, cargo is another major area that holds promise for the airport.
“Once the proposed industries and SEZ come up the cargo traffic is expected to grow tremendously,” said Airport Controller C. Pattabhi.
“Crescent is already operating a cargo flight and Sri Lankan Cargo is expected to follow suit. Lufthansa Cargo has also made enquiries.
“All these are expected to materialise once the new terminal building is opened and 24-hour operations begin at the airport,” he said.
ONGC, Reliance and Essar are using the airport as a base for operation of their helicopters for transport of their rigs and other materials.
Helos can also be hired by private parties for emergencies or otherwise.