The Vijayawada airport in Andhra Pradesh officially turned ‘international’ as Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday inaugurated the first international flight from the city to Singapore and laid the foundation stone for the integrated passenger terminal building at the airport.
The Vice President said that an international flight from Vijayawada to Singapore would further enhance the connectivity as well as Andhra Pradesh's business and tourism potential.
It was in May last year, that the central government granted international status to the Vijayawada airport. However, it was only after the state government offered viability gap funding to service providers to encourage more airlines, that IndiGo stepped forward. It will now operate two flights a week.
He said the new state-of-the-art terminal spread across 35,000 sq metre is being developed with Rs 611 crore to handle 1,200 passengers everyday with 24 check-in counters and eight gates.
The terminal would also accommodate parking facility for 1,250 four wheelers. A total of 14 immigration counters, three customs counters, and five baggage belts would be installed for the convenience of international and domestic passengers.
The Vice President said the new air connectivity between Andhra Pradesh and Singapore would increase India's reach in South-East Asia.
Venkaiah Naidu said India has the potential to become a global aviation hub for Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) following a growing aviation business, huge pool of engineering talent and low labour costs.
"The Indian civil aviation industry is growing at a rapid pace and is considered the third largest domestic civil aviation market in the world. According to projections, it is poised to become the world's largest domestic civil aviation market in the next 10-15 years. Investments to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore are expected in the next five years," Naidu said.
He said the passenger traffic which witnessed 14.1 percent growth over the last five years is likely to touch about 400 million by the year 2020. He said that in spite of the growth in passenger traffic, some of the airlines were facing problems and hoped that things would improve soon for them.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, state Finance Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu, state Law Minister Kollu Ravindra and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Naidu said that the recent aviation initiatives such as development of Vizag Airport, extension of runway at Rajahmundry Airport and extension of runway at Tirupati Airport would give fillip to the growth prospects of the state.
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