Aviation

Vijayawada to get direct flights to Mumbai

VIJAYAWADA: Before long, residents of Vijayawada could only hope for a direct flight to Mumbai and Kolkata.

At present, Vijayawada has air connectivity with Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore, reports The New Indian Express.

As the Vijayawada Airport is close to Amaravati, the State government is keen that it becomes an airport with connectivity to all metropolises in India. As part of its efforts to give necessary facelift to the Vijayawada Airport, the government is feverishly making efforts to get an airline to introduce direct flights to Mumbai to begin with and then to Kolkata.

The CRDA officials are holding talks with airlines to get them operate their Boeings from Vijayawada to Mumbai, but the latter is not showing much interest citing that the flights might be unviable.
Apart from viability gap funding, the government is also contemplating to provide incentives to the airlines including reimbursement of landing charges and a portion of navigation charges to operate flights to Vijayawada.

The government wants the airlines to utilise night stay facility at airports which would further help in improving connectivity.

If night stay is availed by a flight, say in Vijayawada, it means that the passengers from the city will have a late flight home and for those flying out from Vijayawada, an early morning flight. This will be a good economic activity too as the crew would be staying in hotels in Vijayawada.

“After a lot of efforts, we could get one slot in Mumbai airport recently for a flight from Vijayawada to Mumbai. But so far, no airline has come forward to operate flights to Vijayawada from Mumbai because they cannot fly 72-seater ATRs as they cannot carry enough fuel for the long haul. They would have to invariably fly 180 seat Boeings, but they are afraid there may not be that much traffic. We understand that flying a Boeing is economically unviable and to get the airlines interested in introducing a flight, we have to give them something in return,” a senior official of the CRDA told TNIE on Monday.

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