The coastal city of Visakhapatnam, which the state government is promoting as a major industrial and information technology hub after Hyderabad, got a massive boost with the Visakhapatnam airport getting night landing facilities from Sunday.
A Spicejet flight from Delhi was the first to land after nightfall, formally launching the facilities. The flight later took off for Mumbai via Hyderabad. It took the airport nearly 60 years to get the facility.
At present, six airlines operate 19 flights to and from this coastal airport, ferrying five lakh passengers annually. With the night landing facility available, the number of passengers is expected to grow to 10 lakh passengers per year.
The night landing facility is part of the Rs 195-crore airport modernisation project that is currently in progress. The modernisation programme includes a new 10,000-feet runway, instrumental landing system and construction of additional aprons.
“In the absence of night flights, many travelers, particularly those taking early morning international flights from Chennai and Hyderabad, were in a disadvantage. Now these passengers can take evening flights to Hyderabad for onward connectivity to international flights. Similarly, with night landing available some airlines may think of starting international services too as sizeable chunk of NRI hail from the north coastal Andhra region,” said Varada Reddy, president of air passengers association.