Tirupati domestic airport declared international airport

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New Delhi, Oct 7 (UNI) The Government today declared the existing domestic airport at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh as an international airport.

This would offer improved air connectivity, wider choice of services at competitive cost to the air travellers, thus boosting tourism and economic development of the region, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said after the Union Cabinet meeting that gave the approval.

''Some expenditure would be involved in installation of X-ray machines and other equipment, setting up of arrival and departure hall, and appointment of staff,'' Mr Chidambaram said.

There has been a persistent demand from public representatives for declaring the domestic airport at Tirupati as an international airport.

It has been represented that Tirupati being a very prominent place of pilgrimage receives around 60,000 pilgrims everyday.

Many of these pilgrims include Non-Resident Indians, PIOs and the foreigners. At present, such pilgrims have to come to Tirupati over international airports at Chennai, Bangalore or Hyderabad.

Declaration of the Tirupati airport as an international airport would facilitate direct connectivity to from Tirupati, thereby benefiting the pilgrims.

The airport has been, recently, upgraded to make it suitable for operations during night time.

With the present facilities and infrastructure, the airport is capable of handling limited international operations.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI is in the process of further upgrading the airport. There is a proposal for construction of new integrated terminal building to handle 700 passengers, at a time, both international and domestic.

Plan for expansion of runway to operate Code E aircraft are also being prepared.

The requirement of additional land has already been taken up with the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

UNI YJ MIR RAI2006

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