Hyderabad: The AP government has almost dropped the proposal to construct an international airport at Mangalagiri. The state government has instead decided to upgrade the airport at Gannavaram as an international airport. AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had announced that an international airport would be built at Mangalagiri over 5,000 acres. On January 9, 2015 Mr Naidu had said, “The government is considering construction of a new airport at Mangalagiri town in the new capital region... As part of constructing a world-class capital city for the state, a new airport at Mangalagiri town is under consideration.”
The original master plan for Amaravati had also mentioned an international airport at Mangalagiri. But in the revised master plan, the airport has disappeared. In the revised master plan, the Singapore planners said that AP was well connected with the aviation network as there were three international airports in the adjacent states, at Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. In the master plan, the Singapore planners said that the closest airport to the capital region was Vijayawada (Gannavaram) airport, which was approximately 25 minutes from Vijayawada city by car and 30 minutes by train.
Recent upgrades to the Gannavaram airport include a runway extension (2,285 metre) and acquisition of 169 hectare of land for future expansion, bringing its total area to 400 hectares. The revised master plan stated that the Airports Authority of India was developing and making infrastructural improvements to the airport to accommodate future rise in air traffic. The planners also revealed proposals to increase the length of the runway to 3,200 metres, improve facilities, security and operations and construction of a new runway for domestic services. A source close to Mr Naidu said that the proposal of constructing the international airport at Mangalagiri had been dropped as the airport authorities had informed that construction of an international airport at Mangalagiri was not viable. In addition to the viability factor, there are also speculations that some top political leaders who have purchased lands in and around Mangalagiri are behind dropping of the airport proposal there.