Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy inaugurated the Kurnool Airport on Thursday, over two years after its first “inauguration” by his predecessor Chandrababu Naidu.
Flight operations from the airport, located at Orvakal, about 25 kms from the city, would commence from March 28, with services to Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam, and Chennai.
Kurnool is the sixth civilian airport in the state after Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Vijayawada, Rajamundry and Kadapa.
The Rayalaseema town is the designated judicial capital of the state, as per the YSRCP government plans. Jagan had met home minister Amit Shah in January requesting the centre to issue a notification to set up the AP high court at Kurnool.
Reddy had also reminded Shah that the BJP's 2019 election manifesto endorsed the location of AP HC at Kurnool. The high court, at present, is functioning from Amaravati.
The Kurnool Airport is named after Uyyalavada Narasimha Reddy, a valiant chieftain from the present day Kurnool district who had rebelled against the British in the 1840s. Executed in 1847, Uyyalavada is hailed as “the first-ever freedom fighter of the country.” Telugu film star Chiranjeevi's 2019 movie Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy was based on the chronicles-legends of Uyyalavada.
In January 2019, ahead of the general and state assembly elections, the then CM Naidu had inaugurated the Kurnool airport, which was just the runway and terminal building.
Addressing the gathering on Thursday, Chief Minister Reddy stated that the airport is now equipped with all the latest technology, fine infrastructure, and parking facility for four air-crafts. “The airport will position the judicial capital on par with other cities.”
The CM slammed the previous TDP government for inaugurating an incomplete airport in a rush, “without even securing the DGCA, ATC permissions.”
Reddy remarked that Naidu used the “inauguration” event as a political stunt, to garner the local votes.
“We have made the airport fully functional within 18 months, by spending Rs 110 crore,” Reddy said.
Hardeep Singh Puri, the civil aviation minister, joined the event virtually.
Kurnool services are under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik. The centre and the Andhra Pradesh government share the VGF towards the operations on an 80:20 basis.