The state government has stirred a hornet's nest by firming up plans for building a new greenfield airport within the capital city area. The Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) has been directed to immediately start scouting for land for the new intl greenfield airport in Amravati.
The plan to have a separate international airport within the capital city area comes at a time when the Chandrababu Naidu government is trying hard to get international tag for Gannavaram airport, which is 25 km away from the capital city. Highly-placed sources said the government is planning to locate the new airport somewhere near Tadikonda, which is about 20 km from the riverbank in Amravati.
“Although we wanted to locate the airport near Mangalagiri in the past, urban planners are taking up a study with the assistance of aviation experts to find out a suitable location. The experts will also study air movement and weather pattern in the region before zeroing in on the location," disclosed capital city in-charge minister P Narayana. He said the government would acquire 7,500 acres for the airport which, he claims, is part of the Amaravati master plan.
“We are at a loss as to why the minister is talking about the new airport now. The outer ring road is being planned to make journey from Gannavaram airport to the capital city smooth. If ORR is being planned at a massive cost of Rs 16,000 crore to provide better connectivity to Gannavaram, where is the need for another airport," a senior airport official said on the condition of anonymity.
Passenger traffic at Gannavaram has shown a huge jump from just 15,000 per month in the past to 35,000 now. “We are readying the airport to handle 10 lakh passengers per year," the official added. While Gannavaram airport is managed by the AAI, sources said the Naidu government is making plans to hand over the proposed airport to a private player.Sources said Singapore firms are of the firm view that the greenfield airport should be located within or close to Amaravati as chances of Gannavaram airport getting the international status are remote.