The foundation stone for Bhogapuram Greenfield International Airport in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayanagaram was laid on Thursday.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who performed the ground-breaking ceremony at Bhogapuram, about 40 km from Visakhapatnam, said that the airport would spur the economic development of north coastal Andhra.
To be developed on 2,703 acres under public-private partnership mode, it will be an integrated airport with an Aerocity, a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and an Aviation Academy.
The need for a greenfield airport was felt in the region due to limitations in expansion of Visakhapatnam Airport, which belongs to the Indian Navy and also the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Officials said this would be developed on the lines of the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The airport would come up between the national highway and the coast. The location was selected after surveys by the state government and also Airport Authority of India (AAI) found it suitable.
Currently, Visakhapatnam Airport is handling 10 lakh passengers annually.
Just earlier this week, Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu opened extended runways at Vijayawada and Rajahmundry airports and laid foundation stone for linear expansion of the present Visakhapatnam airport terminal building. The minister inaugurated these projects from New Delhi through video conferencing.
The runaway at Vijayawada airport was extended from 2,286 meters to 3,360 meters, which will allow wide-bodied aircraft to land. Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman Guruprasad Mahapatra said the project cost Rs 145 crore.
The runway at Rajahmundry airport was extended from 1,750 meters to 3,165 meters at a cost of Rs 182 crore, he said.
The terminal area at Visakhapatnam airport will be increased from 19,800 square meters to 29,050 square meters. With this, the terminal's peak-hour handling capacity will go up from 700 to 1,050 passengers. On completion of the project, the airport will be able to handle four million passengers per annum.