VISAKHAPATNAM: Tier II cities like Visakhapatnam can be drivers of growth in the country and many airliners would like to focus on developing air connectivity from such cities, felt Pran Dasan, country head of Fly Dubai Airlines.
He participated in a seminar conducted by the Air Travellers Association (ATA) here Sunday, where issues related to regional air connectivity in the state and situation of air cargo export business at Visakhapatnam airport were discussed.
He also said that their organisation was ready to commence operations in a short time if the government relaxes the bilateral agreement rules, along with declaring Vizag as open sky for air carriers from the Middle East.
HPCL Visakh Refinery executive director VVR Narasimham raised the issue of lack of sufficient connectivity for Visakhapatnam.
He said that a few years ago Visakhapatnam lost the opportunity of being home to HPCL’s Rs 400-crore research and development centre to Benguluru simply due to lack of efficient air connectivity. Air connectivity plays a major role in getting investments, he added.
Dasan said that if Vizag was declared an open sky for air carriers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it would be more beneficial to the people of the region.
Senior officials from the government and private bodies mooted various solutions to boost the regional air connectivity in Andhra Pradesh. One of the proposals was to decrease the sales tax on regional airline tickets from the present 16 per cent to 4 per cent.
ATA president S Varada Reddy, AU vice-chancellor GSN Raju, bureaucrats and others took part.