Air India to fly from Vizag tomorrow, other operators to follow?

Air India will resume operations from tomorrow at Visakhapatnam airport which has been extensively damaged due to Cyclone Hudhud, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Thursday.

PTI| Updated: Oct 16, 2014, 15:04 PM IST

Visakhapatnam: Air India will resume operations from tomorrow at Visakhapatnam airport which has been extensively damaged due to Cyclone Hudhud, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Thursday.

"Air India will start its flight operations from tomorrow. Subsequently another nine flights by other operators may start from day after tomorrow tentatively," the Minister told mediapersons here.

The airport is being restored and all efforts are being made for operation of immigration facilities so that the international flights may start by November 1, he said.

The Minister requested passengers to cooperate, as comfort level at the airport initially would not be like pre-Hudhud strike days and air conditioning may not work.

"Our aim is to start flight operations as early as possible," he said.

The loss incurred by the airport due to the cyclone onslaught is being assessed, Raju said.

"We are also trying to get details of insurance coverage," he said.

A senior official of Civil Aviation Ministry told PTI yesterday that the loss to the airport could be in the range of Rs 75 crore to Rs 80 crore.

The airport, which handles 20 flights a day including two international ones, came to a standstill after the cyclone havoc.

The airport terminal building, designed to withstand wind speed up to 150 kmph, was considerably damaged in the cyclonic storm.

A press release from Civil Aviation Ministry said due to the cyclone, a large portion of the terminal building, including glass, roof-top covering, air-conditioning, computer system, communication systems and electrical connections, was destroyed at the terminal.

However, as a result of the precautionary measures there was no loss of life or injury to any person at the airport.

Various temporary measures were being set up, such as provision of water-proof covering for the passengers, opening of four counters for checking and food counters, the release said.

Raju said the radar antenna which was completely damaged will be replaced and made functional within a month.