VIJAYAWADA: In a significant development, international flights will soon be operated from Vijayawada airport in Gannavaram to Kuwait and either to Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways has expressed its interest to operate flights to the above mentioned countries from the city.
Official sources said the airline took the decision after examining the airport terminal’s ability to handle passengers flying in from Arab countries under the Vande Bharat Mission. Over 200 chartered flights have landed at the airport runway (which is spread over 3,600 square metres), bringing back thousands of stranded Indians during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The airport has also handled the passengers arriving through chartered and direct services—from France, Germany, Singapore, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Oman, Bahrain, US and UK—arranged by the Central and State governments.
Airport director G Madhusudana Rao told TNIE the terminal has handled international flights operated by Jazeera Airways, Kuwait Airways, Saalam Air and Gulf Air, apart from Indian airlines such as Air India Express, IndiGo, Air India and Spice Jet, to bring Indians home under the Vande Bharat Mission.
“Among the international airlines, Jazeera Airways studied the passenger growth rate to Vijayawada from Arab countries as almost five flights landed at the airport every day during the pandemic. A representative visited the terminal and expressed the company’s interest to operate regular flight services to the city after the situation returns to normalcy,” he said, adding the Airport Authority of India (AAI) welcomed the proposal from the Kuwait-based airline.
Rao further said the representative examined infrastructure facilities and technical specifications at the terminal, and submitted a report to the head office. “In return, the management assured us of operating direct flights from Vijayawada to Kuwait and either to Abu Dhabi or Dubai. However, the bilateral traffic rights issue will be also sorted out at the earliest and a proposal will be submitted to the management after the resumption of regular flights in a full-fledged manner in the country.”