Andhra Pradesh

International in name, but no overseas flights

A view of the Gannavaram Airport near Vijayawada   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

The State government is exploring all possible ways to have the much-needed international connectivity to the Vijayawada International Airport in Gannavaram.

According to officials, proposals were sent to several international and domestic airlines highlighting the projected patronage and demand for direct flights between the city airport and various international destinations.

Knocking on carriers’ doors

“Letters have been sent to international and domestic airlines like Air India, Indigo, SpiceJet, Emirates and Etihad Airways through the State government a week ago. The airlines are yet to respond,” said airport Director G. Madhusudhan Rao.

It may be recalled that the only international flight from the city airport to Singapore by IndiGo had been withdrawn recently following the State government’s decision not to renew the six-month agreement between IndiGo and the AP Airports Development Corporation, a special purpose vehicle.

The State reportedly incurred losses and paid crores of rupees to IndiGo towards Viability Gap Funding as per the State’s aviation policy.

On the other hand, the State government is pursuing with the Centre to get the city airport designated as a Point of Call (PoC) destination. A PoC status to an airport as part of the bilateral agreement allows international carriers to operate flights. In July, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the Lok Sabha that PoC status is not being given to any airport in the country. He also said A.P. had requested for the status to Vijayawada Airport for two UAE-based carriers — Emirates and flydubai or Dubai Aviation Company, a state-owned low-cost airline.

It may be noted that the city airport was given the ‘international’ status in August 2017 and the previous government too made all efforts to get the airport a PoC status. As a last resort, the State government then operated bi-weekly flights to and from Singapore in a tie-up with IndiGo as a pilot project, which is now grounded.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 8:52:35 PM |

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