AP tops civil aviation growth rate

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: Union Minister for Civil Aviation P Ashok Gajapati Raju said Andhra Pradesh has topped the civil aviation growth rate. He said while the growth rate of civil aviation in India stood at 20 per cent, the growth rate at Vijayawada airport stood at 71 per cent, followed by Visakhapatnam (64 %), Tirupati (55 %) and Rajahmundry (45 %).

After inaugurating a new terminal and laying foundation for runway expansion at Vijayawada Airport on Thursday, the Union minister said that the ministry had spent Rs 1291.64 crores for development of airports in the State including Rs 837 crores on Vijayawada, Rs 135.13 crores on Tirupati, Rs 79 crores on Visakhapatnam, Rs 145.55 crores on Rajahmundry and Rs 100 crores on Kadapa.

The minister stressed the need for improvement of cargo operations in the State to double the rural income. He praised the Chief Minister for bringing down the VAT on aviation fuel to 1 per cent to encourage aircraft operations and coming forward to offer land free of cost to develop airports.

Referring to name the Vijayawada airport after NTR Amaravati, Gajapathi Raju said if the State Assembly passes a resolution to this effect, he would discuss it in the Union cabinet for necessary approval. He said that the

runway would be extended to 3360 metres from the existing 2280 metres to enable landing of wide bodied aircraft. He said if the Eluru canal diverted for allotment of some more land the runway would be extended up to 4000 metres to enable landing of all types of aircraft.

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