The expansion of the terminal building of Visakhapatnam International Airport, which was hit owing to the coronavirus pandemic, is likely to be completed by December, the authorities have said.
The expansion project undertaken to enhance the traffic handling capacity at the airport was scheduled to be completed in May.
As part of the project, a beautiful canopy, erected recently, welcomes the passengers to the terminal building. Around 70% of the expansion work has been completed.
Some equipment such as escalators, elevators and conveyor belts will be procured from abroad. Even as the orders have been placed, the restrictions imposed in the wake of the pandemic have delayed their arrival and erection. We (Airports Authority of India) have undertaken the construction of a wall and putting up illuminated boards near the National Highway for the benefit of passengers from the NAD Junction and Gajuwaka side. This work is expected to be completed in one-and-a-half-months, says airport Director M. Raja Kishore.
Once the expansion of the terminal building is completed, he says, an additional 10,000 sqm of space will be added to the existing 20,000 sqm. The additional space would be utilised exclusively for international arrivals and departures. The existing space, which is now being used for international arrivals and departures will be used to cater to the needs of the requirements of the domestic passengers, explains Mr. Raja Kishore.
The new terminal building has six parking bays and three aero-bridges. Six more are under construction. On completion, it will facilitate parking of 12 planes at a time. In one hour, 12 flights can land and take off which means handling over 3,000 passengers at the airport at a time. The expansion of the terminal building is expected to take care of that load. Though limited flights are being operated in view of the pandemic now, the extra space will help ensure social distancing, he says.
In addition to this, there are four parking bays at the apron near the old terminal building. These parking bays are now being used for the movements of non-scheduled aircraft and VIP planes.
The vehicle parking space has been enhanced to accommodate 100 cars more, says Mr. Raja Kishore.
N 5 taxi track
The airport Director says that the N 5 taxi track is ready for commissioning. The safety and security clearances have already been obtained. A regional safety team from Chennai recently issued the clearances after inspection. A trial run has been proposed for familiarisation of the pilots with the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on the new track, says Mr. Raja Kishore.