Demand for more flights & slots turns louder in Vizag
Visakhapatnam MP writes a letter to the Defence Minister to consider allotment of additional flying slots and early completion of parallel taxi track
Visakhapatnam: With normalcy almost restored with the removal of all curbs imposed during the pandemic, the demand for reintroduction of more flights to overseas destinations and allotment of at least six additional slots for domestic flights at Visakhapatnam International Airport is turning louder.
Airport Advisory Board member O Naresh Kumar told Bizz Buzz on Wednesday that the authorities should give at least six slots for parking of domestic flights and facilitate introduction of flights to foreign cities after revival of direct flights to Singapore by Scoot Airlines. Before Covid-19-induced lockdown, the city had flight connectivity to Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and a one-stopover facility at Hyderabad to Chicago.
Recently, a flight has been introduced from Vijayawada to Sharjah. Visakhapatnam being the main commercial and industrial hub, the travel operators and frequent travellers have been demanding the introduction of more international and domestic flights.
The construction of a new terminal with an aim to cater to international arrivals and departures by the Airport Authority of India with an investment of Rs 60 crore has been completed. It will enable operation of 12 flights at a time with over 3,000 passengers. The new building will have additional space of 10,000 sq mts. The existing building has facilities in an area of 20,000 sq mts. Prior to Covid, Visakhapatnam Airport handled 2.85 million passengers during 2018-19. Naresh Kumar said the new building should be earmarked for international passengers with required facilities.
Meanwhile, Visakhapatnam MP MVV Satyanarayana said Visakhapatnam is the only major city in Andhra Pradesh and ranked ninth in India in GDP. The major port, the rail connectivity, the industries relating to steel, power, oil, textile, pharma and IT made Visakhapatnam a financial hub. In view of its close proximity to Odisha and Chhattisgarh it became a center for business.
The airport has its own contribution for the development of business and industries in Visakhapatnam district, by maintaining air connectivity to different cities in India and some of the countries.
It was observed during the peak hours, two to three slots are allotted for civilian flights movement even after the construction of new N5 Taxi track with the funds of AAI which is affecting new flights coming to Visakhapatnam and growth of air traffic, he said in a letter to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
He asked the Minister to consider allotment of minimum six additional slots for civilian flights to pave the way for introducing more flights with proper connectivity to the domestic and international flights. Therefore, keeping in view the demand and requirement there is a need to introduce some more flights to the Visakhapatnam Airport.
The Navy has sanctioned a parallel taxi track at Visakhapatnam Airport four years ago, which helps movement of defense aircraft. Even after four years, it is not completed. Kindly consider for early completion and commissioning may be taken up during his next visit to the city, he told the Minister.
The MP said there is a growing need to introduce more air services to the Visakhapatnam Airport to meet the demand. "Therefore, we request the Minister to consider allotment of additional flying slots at Visakhapatnam Airport and early completion of parallel taxi track," he stated.
"Now those who want to go abroad, be it for business, conference purpose and to visit dear and near one, are being forced to spend more by undertaking a circuitous trip with a transit halt in Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chennai or Mumbai," P Srinivas Kumar, who runs a travel agency in the city, said.