Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for extension and strengthening of the runway of the Tirupati Airport in Andhra Pradesh along with Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.
Being undertaken at a cost of Rs 117 crore, the extension of the runway would facilitate the landing of wide-bodied aircraft like B-747-400, B-777-300 ER.
Speaking at the event, Venkaiah Naidu said that state governments and the Centre should work together to develop the country, keeping politics aside. The Vice President called up on the State and Central governments to adopt a 'Team India' approach for development.
Naidu also underlined the importance of air, rail and road connectivity for spurring economic growth.
Quoting the Directorate General of Civil Aviation report, he said India had 13.9 crore domestic air travellers in 2018 -- up by 18.6 per cent as compared to 11.7 crore in 2017.
Pointing out that infrastructure in aviation sector was hampered due to paucity of funds for many years, Naidu opined that Public Private Partnership was the way forward to expand infrastructure and building new airports.
He said that the success of the PPP models at Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad were worthy of emulation elsewhere.
Observing that India was moving forward with 7.3 per cent growth rate when the rest of the world was slowing down, the Vice-President said that there was a need for more investment in aviation sector.
The growth in aviation sector would not only spur tourism but generate more employment, he added.
Referring to various projects initiated to develop Tirupati by the Central government, Naidu wanted the local authorities to work towards making the pilgrimage town into a full-fledged smart city.