The regular overseas commuters and pilgrims of Tirupati have some pleasant news. The city of Lord Balaji will soon have direct international flights to and from US and Dubai starting June this year.
Reknowned flight carrier Air India will operate regular flights to the two prime international locations, establishing a direct connect with the sacred pilgrim destination of Lord Venkateswara. The initial plan would be to have one flight a day, scaling up the services in the eventuality going by the demand pattern. The news was confirmed by Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary, Energy, Infrastructure and Investments, who spoke to the media on Tuesday.
To this effect, the required immigration and customs facilities will be opened up soon at the Tirupati airport.
The new arrangement with International stopover flights are of great advantage, helping pilgrims reach the sacred destination without those stopover and transit hassles. Usually, the pilgrims from abroad find it a great challenge to make it through with the long transits at Chennai and Hyderabad airports.
More plans are also in works, with the new airport opening at Donakonda. Incidentally, there was a 48 per cent steep rise in the air passenger traffic at Tirupati airport last year, going by the official reports. Airports at Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada are also seeing a constant rise in the passenger movement.
The new state of Andhra Pradesh has registered a steady increase in passenger traffic, as against the average national figure of 17 per cent this year.
Mr Jain confirmed that Andhra Pradesh stood at 61 per cent and handled 17.8 lakh passengers during the years 2014-15. The volume is only expected to rise this year.