Hyderabad: It has been five years and four months since the Tirupati airport has been accorded international status, but it is yet to operate an international flight. The new integrated terminal building will take till September to complete due to lack of supporting infrastructure.
The new IIT in Tirupati will open up huge potential for international travel. Gulf NRIs from Kadapa, Chittoor, top executives and foreign delegates who visit Sri City and other industrial zones, and high profile NRIs, PIOs and foreign pilgrims to Tirumala are using the Chennai, Bengaluru or Hyderabad international airports instead of Tirupati.
Tirupati airport director V.V. Rao said, “International status was accorded in 2008 keeping in view of the potential. We are hoping to complete the new terminal by July. However, there will likely be a delay in making it operational as we need to get certain clearances as well as supporting logistics. Initially, after the new terminal is completed, we will shift the domestic terminal from the old building to the new one and later we will also operate international flights. The old building has a capacity of 300 passengers only and the new one will have 700 -200 international passengers and 500 domestic.”
There are also no direct domestic flights from Delhi and Mumbai. For a passenger from Delhi, it costs Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 to come to Tirupati via Hyderabad. Via Chennai, its costs Rs 4,000 and a taxi ride. Mr Rao said, “There is a need for direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Tirupati. At present, people coming to Tirupati are using Chennai. Direct flights will decrease the fares.”