The Andhra Pradesh Air Travellers Association (APATA) has expressed concerns over a drop in the number of flights from Visakhapatnam. Stating that the flight movement from Visakhapatnam airport has fallen from 80 flights per day to 59-61 flights per day over a period, the APATA, in a note, has informed that it would take up the up the matter with the Ministry of Civil aviation and Defence Ministry seeking action.
The note further had the APATA mention several reasons for the drop in the number of flights from Visakhapatnam airport. Firstly, the closure of Jet Airways was cited as the reason for the cancellation of many flights from the city. The officials also mentioned the repair and maintenance of several Alliance Air aircraft of Air India. The other reasons listed in the note are as follows:
- The State Government’s non-payment of the promised viability gap funding to Alliance Air. The shifting of Alliance Air aircraft to more profitable routes and to the ones under Udaan from Visakhapatnam.
- The restrictions imposed by the Navy on civil movements at Visakhapatnam airport.
- The slots between 6 pm and 10 pm, on working days, are full and no slots are available for new aircraft.
- Navy exercises have been prioritised where the slots are allotted to the Navy.
- Visakhapatnam airport currently has a one-directional runway.
- Navy needs a new Parallel taxi track (PTT). While the work has started in this regard, the Port has to allocate 50 acres for its completion. This will help the Navy use PTT and allow peak hour slots to the civilian aircraft once the new runway is complete.
- The Narava hill height is blocking the second direction of landing. This hill needs to be reduced for defence needs and naval aircraft. The Government must hand over this hill to defence after reducing the height for national needs of defence and civil needs. The move will reduce airtime of aircraft by 10 minutes and save fuel and also allow bi-direction landing to double the number of flights landing in Visakhapatnam.