Airlines wary of introducing new flights as peak hour slots dip in Visakhapatnam – ET TravelWorld

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Many airlines are wary of introducing new flights to Visakhapatnam due to non-availability of slots during peak hours at the airport. The airport, which came under the administrative control of Eastern Naval Command (ENC) in 1986, has been facing this issue for the last several years. While the various stakeholders, including airlines, air travellers’ association, Vizag development council, and others have been requesting ENC to allot more landing and take-off slots during peak hours, Navy authorities say the allotted slots are underutilised. The port city and the commercial capital of the state, lies in 19th spot in domestic and 24th in handling international flights.

Vizag MP M V V Satyanarayana told that he has requested Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to allot additional flying slots to commercial flights at Visakhapatnam airport. In his previous letter to the defence minister, he had noted that only 2 to 3 slots per hour are allotted to civilian flight movement even after the construction of the new N5 taxiway.

Government set to kick off 3 mega tourism projects in Visakhapatnam at investors’ meet

Though the government proposed many tourism projects for Visakhapatnam and other areas of the state a couple of years ago, none of them could take off due to Covid-19 pandemic. Now, the government has decided to speed up the pending tourism projects during the GIS, with some foreign investors showing interest to invest in the projects.

APATA vice president O Naresh Kumar said, “It’s mainly due to restrictions in allotment of slots to commercial flights in peak hours (8 am to 8 pm). The new airport at Bhogapuram will take another 4-5 years to be functional. Proper travelling facilities will attract investors to the state,” he said. However, Naval authorities say the slots are decided by the DGCA, not them. “The DGCA holds several meetings before drawing the summer and winter schedules every year. Navy authorities also claim that commercial airlines are not using the allotted slots to their full capacity. As per the slots approved for the 2022 summer schedule, only 110 flights land and take off from Vizag airport per day out of 164 slots allotted. Out of these, 60 movements were allotted from 12.01 am to 5.59 am ” said a Navy official.

ENC chief Vice Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta also said recently that the slots given to airlines were ‘underutilised’, observing that only 74 per cent of slots were utilised during peak hours, 50 per cent during non-peak hours, and only 30 per cent during late-night hours.

APATA representatives argued that 60 movements in six hours are allotted for namesake. Airport director K Srinivasa Rao said it’s difficult to provide airlines slots of their choice .

  • Published On Mar 22, 2023 at 07:00 PM IST

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