TIRUPATI: Tirupati airport is all set to operate international services, which make the journey to Gulf countries much easier for people of Rayalaseema.
Many people from abroad visiting India can directly come to Tirupati to visit Tirumala via Gulf, as it is serving as a hub connecting several countries, reports The Hans India.
This will reduce the travelling time significantly and boost pilgrim tourism in the district particularly in Sri Kalahasti, Kanipakam, Kailasakona besides Talakona and Horsley Hills.
The Central government has accorded international status to Tirupati Airport in June this year. Earlier, the Prime Minister inaugurated the international terminal in October 2015. The new terminal works were started in 2011. During the last six months, immigration, customs and health wings are being readied at the airport.
Regarding the expansion of the runway, the director said that the state government was showing a lot of interest and problems involved in land acquisition would be solved soon.
Air India, Spice Jet and True Jet are operating domestic services and Indigo is set to start its operations from November. From 2015-16 to 2016-17, the traffic has increased by 48 per cent. Almost five lakh passengers per annum have travelled through the airport in 2016.
International services are beneficial to the renowned educational institutions that were established in Tirupati after bifurcation like IIT, IISER, Culinary Institute etc. These institutes invite foreign professors. They can be able to travel from Tirupati itself instead of Chennai or Bengaluru, once the international services commence.
Now the authorities are looking for operators to run the services.
The operators need to approach the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for slots, which in turn consult Airport Authority of India (AAI).