By Staff Correspondent
In a strategic upgrade for India’s aviation infrastructure, operations at the freshly constructed terminal of the Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair, commenced on Monday, marking a significant milestone for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The inaugural arrival at this state-of-the-art facility was an IndiGo flight, 6E-6213, originating from Chennai. Touching down at a precise 7.10 am, the aircraft carried 83 travellers. This was closely followed by an Air India flight, AI-549, which landed just ten minutes later with 84 passengers onboard.
Notably, the same IndiGo plane was the first to inaugurate the departure wing of the terminal, leaving for Chennai at 7.35 am with a considerably higher passenger load of 159. Air India was just a little behind, dispatching its plane back to Chennai with 161 passengers.
The launch day was with its share of festivities. A special event at the terminal celebrated its opening, with attendees treated to a rich display of the region’s tribal dance forms. As a nod to tradition and hospitality, arriving passengers were greeted with flower bouquets and the customary Indian ‘aarti and tilak’. Travellers received Nicobari hats meticulously crafted from palm fronds to add to the festive spirit.
This new hub, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated virtually on July 18, is a testament to India’s commitment to bolstering its transport networks. Located in the heart of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago’s capital, the Rs 707.73 crore terminal embodies the island’s spirit with its shell-inspired architecture.
With an expansive built-up area of 40,837 sq metres, the terminal is flooded with 100% natural light, promising an ambient travelling experience. It is designed to efficiently handle up to 1,200 passengers during its busiest hours and is projected to cater to roughly 40 lakh passengers annually. The tri-level facility is equipped with modern amenities, including 28 check-in counters, a dozen immigration desks, three passenger boarding bridges, and an apron capable of accommodating ten aircraft simultaneously.
As India seeks to enhance its connectivity and boost tourism, such infrastructural advancements are pivotal in attracting international attention and investment.