Even as the land acquisition process is going on for Gannavaran airport modernisation, the state government’s approval for a greenfield airport at Mangalagiri, just 35 km away from it, has given rise to many apprehensions from various quarters. Experts, including those from the aviation sector, point out that a second airport in such close proximity will neither be feasible nor economically viable.
The state government, at its cabinet meeting last week, has cleared the proposal for construction of the airport in 5,000 acres at Mangalagiri. This has raised many an eyebrow as hundreds of crores of rupees are being spent on the Gannavaram airport for developing it in such a way that it can even handle international flight services.
M Subba Rao, former employee of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and now a resident of Gannavaram who had served as the director of various international airports at Calicut, Bengaluru and Bhubaneswar, said that it is neither feasible nor viable to have both the airports. “It will not be viable as it is just 35 km away from the existing airport,” he said.
He further said that there is no clarity over the issue as it is only in the preliminary stage wherein the state cabinet had taken a decision in this regard. “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has to approve it. Then a team will study the topography of Mangalagiri. Only after a thorough study, a decision will be taken,” he said.
However, the voices against the government’s proposal are growing stronger as industry bodies and other experts point out that there is no need for a new airport in the capital region as the existing one at Gannavaram is not being used to its full capacity.
“The proposed greenfield airport at Mangalagiri will not be viable as there is no such demand. When the government is planning to connect the capital region with an outer ring road (ORR) of 210 km and when so much money is being spent on the existing airport, I don’t understand the logic behind the decision,” said Muthavarapu Murali Krishna, president of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation (APCCIF). He said that an airport of such capacity (in 5,000 acres) is not required at least in the next 20 to 30 years. Trey Hopkins Jersey