ANDHRA PRADESH

Two more airlines eye City of Destiny

R. Jagadeeswara Rao

GoAir and Star Airlines come up with proposals: official



Presently, five airlines are operating from

Vizag airport

Inauguration of new terminal building may

take time



VISAKHAPATNAM: Two more airlines, namely GoAir and Star Airlines, have come up with proposals to operate their flights from Visakhapatnam airport.

According to airport Director C. Pattabhi, both the airlines gave letters expressing interest in operating domestic flights. It may be mentioned here that five airlines – Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher, JetLite and Paramount – have been operating their domestic flights from Visakhapatnam airport. With GoAir and Star Airlines keen on operating their services, the number of airlines operating from the airport, which is being upgraded into an international airport, would increase to seven.

Timings

At present, the five airlines that have been operating from here have 13 trips every day. The hours of operation of flights are also restricted from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There has been a demand to extend the present hours of operation beyond 8 p.m. This has not been acceded to on the plea that it required additional manpower.

However, sources pointed out to the fact that TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu flew from Visakhapatnam airport around midnight a few days ago. TDP leaders said that it was a charter flight and special permission was obtained for that particular flight.

During a visit to the city in September last, Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel had assured that the new terminal building of the airport with night landing facility would be inaugurated by January this year. But enquiries with the airport authorities revealed that though all major works were completed, some minor works still remain. Flooding of airport, specially during rainy season, was a major problem at the airport. However, the work on two channels – Kondagedda and Meghadrigedda – had been completed and the problem of floods had been taken care of.

The Rs.95-crore new terminal building would have the capacity to handle as many as 700 passengers an hour. It would have 20 counters for airlines and parking space for 600 cars. At present, the annual average number of travellers from this airport is about 6 lakhs.

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