VIJAYAWADA: With the extended runway likely to become operational from July 15, Vijayawada International Airport near Gannavaram is gearing up to start international flights. Air India is planning to run direct services between Muscat and Vijayawada once a week or thrice from the first week of July, and increase the services based on demand. A schedule in this regard is likely to be announced in the next couple of days, official sources said.
Airport director G Madhusudana Rao on Monday said the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has expanded the runway, which included re-carpeting and strengthening the 2,286-metre existing runway and extending it by another 1,074 metres, at an estimated cost of Rs160 crore. The total length of the runway is now 3,360 m, and the width remains 45 m, he said.
Referring to the international operations from the terminal, the airport director said in May 2017 the Centre accorded international status to the airport. However, the airport has handled international services only under Vande Bharat Mission.
“The terminal 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,” he said. The terminal is equipped with all necessary facilities to handle both domestic and international passengers amid strict Covid protocols, he added.