Withstanding the COVID-19 concerns and the rising Omicron scare, Visakhapatnam International Airport has witnessed a steady growth during the last 11 months compared to the same period in the previous year.
Vizag airport managed 14,22,662 in the last 11 months of 2021 against the 11,04,340 passengers it handled in the corresponding period in the previous year. The aircraft movements increased to 13,971 from 11,947 during the period.
The infrastructure works at the airport are gaining pace and are expected to complete by March 2022. With the completion of works, Vizag airport will be capable of handling 3.5 million passengers annually, instead of its current capacity of 2.75 million passengers per annum. According to the authorities, 90% of the work is completed, and the remaining works will take three months.
Visakhapatnam airport has established an inline X-ray baggage screening system (ILBS) for baggage inspection in the new development work. The new system will save the time of the passengers by removing the hassle of initial baggage scanning. The passenger can approach the airline counters and deposit luggage directly.
The new parallel taxi track will aid in increasing the flight movements at the airport. The authorities have also constructed six additional parking bays at the airport. A total of 12 big aircraft can now park at the airport with this expansion. Besides, four small planes can be parked at the old terminal building. The airport can also offer a night parking facility to airlines, which facilitates them to operate early morning flights from Vizag.
Vizag airport handled 25,46,382 domestic passengers and 1,42,485 international passengers during the pre-COVID times, in 2019-20.
Scoot airlines to operate flights from Vizag to Singapore
Meanwhile, Scoot Airlines proposed to operate flights from Vizag to Singapore from December 15, which was delayed due to the latest Omicron threat. If Scoot flights become operational, authorities will have to set up a permanent RT-PCR centre at Visakhapatnam airport to conduct COVID-19 tests for international passengers arriving at the airport. According to K Srinivasa Rao, Director of Vizag Airport, a healthcare service provider HLL Lifecare Ltd has submitted a proposal to establish a centre to conduct RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests at the airport.