Vijayawada

A dream come true for jet-setters

In expansion mode: A file photo of the new terminal of Vijayawada Airport at Gannavaram.

In expansion mode: A file photo of the new terminal of Vijayawada Airport at Gannavaram.   | Photo Credit: V_RAJU.

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Old terminal for international traffic and new interim terminal for domestic traffic

Even before having an international terminal or a direct international flight connectivity, the Vijayawada airport at Gannavaram joins the club of international airports in the country.

Considering the requests of the State government that the domestic airport should be given international status to boost connectivity, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved Vijayawada airport as an international airport. This comes exactly 111 days after the inauguration of the new world-class terminal (interim) of the airport on January 12.

Old terminal to go international

Principal spokesperson, Government of India, Frank Noronha, tweeted that the approval for declaration as per provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 will improve connectivity to the state capital, provide a wider choice of services at competitive costs to air travellers, boost domestic and international tourism and socio-economic development of the state.

However, the new terminal would not serve the international passengers and flights. The old terminal that served as an army base during World War II before turning into the civilian airport will soon host international passengers and flights.

“The new terminal will purely serve domestic passengers. The old terminal is being readied with infrastructure as required by the customs and immigration departments. Installation of X-Ray baggage scanners, security and surveillance systems and other works related to it will be completed in a couple of months,” Airport Director G. Madhusudhana Rao told The Hindu.

The integrated terminal will come up in another four years until then the old terminal will serve as a separate international terminal, he said.

Mr. Rao said that the State government sought international status to the airport after the land was arranged for the integrated terminal. Following it, the Civil Aviation Ministry sought a feasibility report.

“After analysing all the available facilities and handling capacities of passengers and flights, I have submitted a positive feasibility report,” he added.

The airport is capable of handling AB-320 type aircraft in all weather conditions and has apron suitable for parking four AB-320 type aircraft and two ATR-72-500 type aircraft at present. The old terminal building of an area of 3,200 sq.metres was recently refurbished to handle 250 passengers.

The airport currently connects Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Chennai, Delhi, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Kadapa with daily services.

CISF security required

Though the proposal for taking over of airport security by the CISF has been approved, the deployment of 230 personnel, as required, is pending since long. The State and city police are currently providing all security services at the airport.

The airport is being run with a workforce of 115 staff and the international terminal may require additional 20 personnel.

International flight?

However, it is unclear if there would be international flight connectivity to the airport in the near future. While the airport authorities say that it depends on the airlines, IT Minister Nara Lokesh on Wednesday said that international connectivity to Vizag and Vijayawada airports would be brought in another six months.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:23:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/a-dream-come-true-for-jet-setters/article18382027.ece

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