Vijayawada's first international flight flags off
Vijayawada entered the international aviation map Tuesday when the maiden Indigo Airbus A320 flight took off for Singapore from the airport at Gannavaram. Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu flagged off the inaugural flight in the presence of Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, state Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and a host of other dignitaries.
"This is only a beginning and Vijayawada will have more international flights in the near future, Venkaiah Naidu said on the occasion. The new air connectivity between Andhra Pradesh and Singapore would increase Indias reach in south-east Asia and the state would become an aviation gateway between the two prospering regions. It would also boost tourism, the Vice-President said.
He asked various state government to partner with the Centre in a true 'Team India spirit' for building a prosperous and inclusive 'New India' by creating the right ecosystem for the growth of various sectors. The aviation sector, Venkaiah Naidu noted, not only played a key role in promoting connectivity and creating jobs but also was an important driver of the economy. "It indeed is the most vital sector for linking businesses, bringing people together and promoting tourism worldwide," he added.
Stating that infrastructure is vital for development, the Vice-President said that the Centre was bestowing special attention on the aviation sector, due to which public investments in infrastructure projects of aviation and other sectors increased substantially.
The Andhra Pradesh government set aside a sum of Rs 18.35 crore as viability gap fund for six months to operate the 180-seater Vijayawada-Singapore non-stop flight twice a week. The state government has already paid Rs 3,05,87,220 to Indigo as an advance for the first month flights. The government set Rs 18,881 as 'indicative price' (return fare) per seat and the VGF was accordingly worked out. The Indigo flight from Singapore landed at Vijayawada airport at 4.15 pm, carrying about 150 passengers.
The Vijayawada-Singapore flight had over 80 passengers flying to the City-State from Andhra Pradeshs capital region Amaravati. The Vijayawada airport, which is the lone airport in the capital region, is now second in the state after Visakhapatnam to have international flights.
The Vijayawada-Singapore return flights will be operated on Tuesday and Thursday every week. Meanwhile, the Vice-President conducted the bhumi puja for the construction of the integrated terminal building at Vijayawada airport.
The 35,000 sq m, Rs 611 crore building will have a peak passenger handling capacity of 1200 with 24 check-in counters. Venkaiah Naidu said the new integrated terminal building was planned to incorporate green building features like eco-friendly sustainable building material. "I am happy to note this and appreciate the authorities for adopting eco-friendly infrastructure in constructing the new integrated terminal in the Vijayawada airport," he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)