The flight movements at Visakhapatnam International Airport will improve with additional slots once the new parallel taxi track (N5) is commissioned, the authorities have said.
The N3 and N4 taxi tracks at the airport, at present, can handle 10 flight movements per hour. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has spent 23 crore on construction of the new taxi track and six additional parking bays to accommodate more aircraft.
The commissioning of the new taxi track can generate additional slots, particularly, during the peak hours, when there is more demand for operation of flights.
The construction work of N5 has been completed. However, its commissioning is pending. The delay is due to procedural issues such as sharing information about it to the airports across the world and shifting of the fence. N5 will provide an additional access to the runway and improve handling efficiency. We are optimistic that the commissioning will be done in a few weeks, airport Director M. Raja Kishore told The Hindu.
He further said that the expansion of the new terminal building undertaken at a cost of 70 crore is expected to be completed by May 2020.
The civil works are going on at a brisk pace. However, the structural erection work is being done only between 11 p.m. and 5 p.m. in view of the heavy movement of passengers, Mr. Raja Kishore said.
On completion of the expansion work, there will be a new arrival and departure terminal exclusively for international passengers. A sophisticated in-line baggage system and a four-stage luggage screening system will also be in place.
A part of the existing walls needs to be demolished partially while the customs and immigration offices need to be shifted. The demolition of the walls is being done only during the nights to prevent inconvenience to passengers. Illuminated boards displaying the name of the airport in Telugu, Hindi and English would come up at the entrance. The entire expansion work is expected to be completed by May-end, added Mr. Raja Kishore.
Andhra Pradesh Air Travellers Association leaders O. Naresh Kumar and D.S. Varma have sought that the additional slots are created during the peak hours to facilitate the operation of more passenger flights.
More flights sought
They alleged that the non-availability of slots for new flights during the peak hours was resulting in airline operators shying away from Vizag. The reduction in the number of flights would affect the economic progress of Visakhapatnam, they added.