Bhogapuram Airport in Andhra Pradesh on 'taxiway', preparing to take off

Considered as one of the future growth engines of Visakhapatnam, the 2200 acre airport will replace the existing aerodrome in the city.
Last Updated : 07 May 2024, 06:35 IST
Last Updated : 07 May 2024, 06:35 IST

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Visakhapatnam: Upon arriving at a particular location in Bhogapuram, once a nondescript village, one is greeted by swirling clouds of dust that fill the air. A gaze through it reveals the hectic construction work of the upcoming international airport by the GMR Group.

Considered as one of the future growth engines of Visakhapatnam, the 2200 acre airport will replace the existing aerodrome in the city. Bhogapuram under Nellimarla assembly constituency has begun its transformation from a dusty village to an upcoming airport city after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy laid the foundation stone for a new greenfield airport in May last year.

The YSRCP election manifesto says that the airport will be completed within 18 months.

GMR Visakhapatnam International Airport, a subsidiary of GMR Airports Ltd, in 2020, was awarded the concession to develop and operate the greenfield Bhogapuram International Airport (BIA) to the north of this city under a 40-year Design-Build-Finance-Operate-and-Transfer model.

GMR Group will be investing Rs 5,000 crore in the first phase, the infra major's Chairman GM Rao had earlier said.

Though the land was acquired for Bhogapuram Airport a few years ago, the project could not take off as some land owners went to the court on compensation issues.

As part of the rehabilitation and resettlement package, the state government moved over 450 families to new locations, a local revenue official said.

The government has also built two new colonies for the displaced families.

"I have given half an acre and I got Rs 16.5 lakh as compensation. My family moved to the new colony (known as Airport Colony) one and a half years ago. We are happy with our settlement," Bollinkala Devi, one of the displaced persons, told PTI.

The 40-kilometer stretch between Visakhapatnam and Bhogapuram is currently experiencing rapid growth, with real estate firms launching new ventures and people flocking with investment proposals.

"The construction work at the Bhogapuram airport is progressing at a rapid pace. Efforts are being made on a war footing to meet the project's milestones," a GMR spokesperson said.

When contacted, S Raji Reddy, Director of Visakhapatnam International Airport said the passenger capacity of the aerodrome is 3.5 million annually and handled 2.8 million, citing latest figures.

He said once the aiport at Bhogapuram starts functioning, commercial operations from the existing facility in Vizag will be closed.

A part of the Visakhapatnam airport belongs to the Indian Navy.

The official said daily about 30 flights land and take from Vizag airport. This includes international services.

According to the concession agreement, the first phase of the Bhogapuram Airport project is expected to be constructed in 3 years. It will also have a dedicated state-of-the-art cargo terminal catering to exports, aerotropolis (a sub-region) and airport city within the vicinity, ensuring world-class facilities for efficient cargo operations, GMR had earlier said.

The green field airport which is being developed as a Public Private Partnership model will have an initial capacity of six million passengers per annum and will be scaled up based on passenger traffic growth, according to GMR.

Published 07 May 2024, 06:35 IST

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