Visakhapatnam International Airport (VTZ) is the busiest airport in the state of Andhra Pradesh, serving the city of Vizag and nearby areas. Owned by the Indian Navy and the Airports Authority of India (AAI), it holds the unique distinction of functioning as a civilian airport as well as a naval air station.
With the city of Visakhapatnam growing leaps and bounds, its airport has also developed, with frequent expansions and the introduction of international travel to and from the airport. The airport provides direct flights to major cities in India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Here are some things to know about the Visakhapatnam International Airport:
#1 INS Dega
The most interesting aspect of this airport is its dual functionality. The airport, while undertaking civilian flight operations on a daily basis, also serves as an air station for the Indian Navy. The civilian part of the airport was transferred to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 1981 while the air station was renamed INS Dega in 1991. However, daily civilian flight operations began only in 1999.
For this reason, unlike other airports in India, photography is strictly prohibited at the Visakhapatnam International Airport.
#2 Night landing facility
With the installation of an Instrument Landing System (ILS) in 2007, this airport got the night-landing facility. From 2012, civilian flights began landing at the airport during the night on a regular basis.
#3 New terminal building
To facilitate the increasing demand for civilian flights at the Visakhapatnam International Airport, a new terminal building was introduced in 2009. This terminal building has 20 check-in counters and 3 aerobridges. This building can attend to about 2 million passengers per annum. The airport has 4 taxiways to connect to the sole runway (which is shared by the airport and INS Dega). The latest of these taxiways, N5 was commissioned in August 2021.
#4 International travel
In the past, direct international flights have been run from Visakhapatnam to cities in other countries. There was an Air India flight to Dubai, a Scoot flight to Singapore, a Sri Lankan Airlines flight to Colombo, and an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur. However, due to the prevailing Covid-19 circumstances, direct international travel isn’t possible from Visakhapatnam currently. These flights are expected to return to the timetable once we are free of Covid-19.
#5 Bhogapuram International Airport
With the continuously growing flight traffic from Visakhapatnam, the existing airport is soon going to be replaced with a new one at Bhogapuram. At a distance of 40 km from Vizag, this greenfield airport is proposed to spread over 2,200 acres and is to be constructed by the GMR Group. However, the construction work hasn’t begun yet and is expected to start by the end of 2021 and be completed in 2023. This new airport’s terminal handling capacity is expected to be 6.3 million passengers per annum, 3 times that of the present Visakhapatnam International Airport.