The traffic at Visakhapatnam airport is slowly on its way back to normalcy, with the number of arriving and departing passengers increasing over the past few weeks. Previously, all incoming and outgoing flights were stalled from Visakhapatnam airport till the last week of May due to the country-wide lockdown. While operations resumed on 26 May 2020, passengers were limited in numbers. However, this situation seems to be improving, with new passengers arriving to Vizag via domestic and international flights as part of the Vande Bharat Mission.
As per information collected by the Visakhapatnam airport authorities, the total number of passengers who arrived in Vizag via domestic flights in May was 3,934. WIth a regular schedule of flights run in the subsequent month, this number jumped to 20,212 in June 2020. A similar pattern was observed for departures as well, with the passenger count standing at 3,435 in May 2020 and, significantly increasing to 17,555 in June of this year. With the rise in passenger traffic, security and safety protocols have also been amped up at Visakhapatnam airport.
Speaking about the current safety protocols, Visakhapatnam Airport Director M Raja Kishore told Yo! Vizag that as per guidelines issued by the Andhra Pradesh state government, swab tests are being conducted to 10% of the total passengers arriving at the airports.
Speaking about the increasing daily incoming flights to the airport, the Director said, “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approves the flight schedules to all airports in a seasonal fashion. The summer and winter schedules for Visakhapatnam airport were previously approved by the DGCA. However, with the enforcement of the lockdown, only 1/3rd of the previous summer schedule has been approved. With the new schedule, we are receiving a minimum of five domestic flights everyday. Of these, four are run by IndiGo and one from AirAsia connecting major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.” Apart from the swab tests for COVID-19, all arriving passengers are also being sent to a mandatory home quarantine as per the guidelines, explained the Director.