Vijayawada: With increase in air traffic due to development of Andhra Pradesh's new capital Amaravati near here, Vijayawada airport has been expanded with the inauguration of a new terminal building on Thursday.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu along with Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju and Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu also laid the foundation stone for expansion of the runway.
The new terminal building at the airport, also known as Gannavaram airport, has been completed at a cost of Rs 135 crore. The new building has thrice the capacity of the current building. It has 3,000 sq ft exclusive ceremonial lounge which can be used for high level meetings. The runway is being expanded from 2,286 meters to 3,025 meters to handle large aircraft.
Officials said once all the expansion works are completed, the airport can handle 15 to 20 lakh passengers per annum against the current capacity of six lakh passengers.
Chandrababu Naidu said his government planned to build airports in all districts.
He said the state had already announced aerospace, defence manufacturing policy and also civil aviation policy to attract investment. The state government has also formed an airport development fund.
Raju said the aviation sector in Andhra Pradesh was growing at a faster pace than the national average. He said when the central and state governments work together, a lot can be achieved and Andhra Pradesh is the best model.
Venkaiah Naidu said connectivity was a must to achieve development. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was extending all possible assistance to Andhra Pradesh.