VIJAYAWADA: Following the development measures initiated in the aviation sector, the State witnessed 44 percent growth in air passenger traffic. This is being dubbed a record growth, making Andhra Pradesh the fastest-growing State in the civil aviation sector of the country.
While the Visakhapatnam airport is poised to cross 2 million passengers in FY 2016-17, the Vijayawada airport (Gannavaram) registered 76 per cent passenger growth in the current fiscal till November.
The footfalls at Vijayawada airport are likely to increase further after the inaugural of the new airport terminal by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on January 12. The new terminal, being constructed at a cost of Rs 135 crore, is now expected to handle 500 peak hour passengers (PHP). Before the expansion and renovation works, it used to handle just 100 PHP.
Chief Minister Chandrababu, who reviewed the progress of the green field airports proposed at Bhogapuram (Vizianagaram), Dagadarthi (Nellore) and Orvakal (Kurnool), during a teleconference with CMO’s higher officials Satish Chandra and G Sai Prasad along with Principal Secretary (infrastructure and investment) Ajay Jain here Tuesday, expressed his satisfaction over the completion of the airport passenger terminal works at Gannavaram in just one year.
With a view to promote the civil aviation sector in the State in a big way, the government reduced the tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) to just 1 percent, thereby increasing the viability of airlines to operate in Andhra Pradesh, he recalled.
He expressed confidence that the AP Civil Aviation Policy and the AP Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Policy will pave way for the development of more airports and also become vital cogs in economic development of the State.
Growth in civil aviation sector will create more employment opportunities and healthy competition among the airline operators will prove beneficial for air passengers, as it could result in reduced air travel cost, he felt.
According to Ajay Jain, the Vijayawada airport handled about 4.5 lakh domestic passengers and 8,342 domestic aircraft movements from April to November last year.
Works pertaining to the new international terminal at the airport will be taken up at a cost of `600 crore and the runway will be expanded to 3,900 m. At present, the airport has a runway length of 2,286 m, suitable to handle 1-320/A-321 type of aircraft. It also has night landing facilities and operation capabilities, he informed.