Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurates Kurnool airport, the sixth civilian airport in Andhra Pradesh

Published : March 29, 2021 13:33 IST

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and other Ministers and officials at the inauguration of the Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy Airport, in Kurnool on March 25. Photo: U. SUBRAMANYAM

Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh became the latest town in India to be connected by air on March 28. The new airport in Kurnool, the Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy Airport, named after the first freedom fighter from the region, was inaugurated by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on March 25.

The new airport, located at Orvakal near Kurnool, is the State’s sixth civilian airport after Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Vijayawada (all three are international airports), and the domestic airports at Rajamahendravaram and Kadapa.

Air connectivity to Kurnool, also known as “The Gateway of Rayalaseema”, has an added significance as the town, if Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s capital trifurcation plans go ahead, is slated to become the State’s judicial capital. According to the plan, Amaravati will be the State’s legislative capital and Visakhapatnam the executive capital.

Kurnool is scheduled to become an important node in the upcoming Hyderabad-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor and is also expected to play a vital role in Andhra Pradesh’s connectivity, tourism-related activity and infrastructure development. Further, flights from Kurnool are expected to enhance the ease of accessibility for government officials travelling to and from the judicial capital.

Built on 1,010 acres at a cost of Rs.153 crore, of which the present Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government spent Rs.110 crore over an 18-month period, the airport received the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) clearance in mid January this year and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) security clearance at the end of the same month. With a runway of 2,000 metres long and 30 metres wide and four aprons for the parking of aircraft, the airport will initially operate regular commercial flights to Bengaluru, Chennai and Visakhapatnam. Direct flights to the three destinations will be operated under Udan, the regional connectivity scheme (RCS).

Famous tourist attractions that will be well served by the new airport are the famous temples at Ahobilam and Mantralayam and the Nallamala forest and Belum caves.

Interestingly, the foundation stone for the airport was initially laid in June 2017 by the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu. He later inaugurated the airport in January 2019, ahead of the general and State Assembly elections.