Rajahmundry: Rajahmundry airport will soon get a facelift at a cost of about Rs 200 crore to facilitate the landing of wide-bodied aircraft, like the A321, Boeing 737/900 series and also cargo planes for export of shrimp, crab, fresh fruit and vegetables, and flowers and ornamental plants from the Kadiam nurseries to the international market.
Rajahmundry airport director Raj Kishore said, “We are going to call for tenders shortly to take up expansion of the runway. The airport will provide strategic passenger connectivity to various destinations and cargo transportation in two years.”
The runway is being expanded to 10,500 ft from the present 5,000 ft for landing and take off of big aircraft. The airport authorities have acquired private land and are expecting to gain possession of government land too for the expansion exercise, which was proposed a few years ago, but land acquisition was a major issue, that has now been finally resolved.
Bids will be called for and an agency will be fixed for taking up the runway expansion work soon. It is expected to complete the work in about 15 months.
The authorities are constructing three aprons to facilitate the parking of big aircraft, which is 40 per cent complete.
Given the vast export potential of seafood, fruit vegetables, coconut, rice and ornamental plants and flowers, the authorities plan to operate huge cargo planes based on the demand and supply.
The number of air passengers is rising by the day, with the authorities planning to fulfill the demand for air services to Bengaluru, Aurangabad and Shirdi directly.
Six aircraft are currently operating from the city.