Air travellers press for direct flight to Dubai from Vizag

Will Visakhapatnam ever get a direct flight to Dubai?

Five-and-a-half years after the launch of the first international flight from Visakhapatnam to Dubai (via Hyderabad), this is the question that is still worrying air travellers from the city.

Against this backdrop, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s videoconference with the delegates of Emirates Airlines seeking a direct flight from Visakhapatnam to Dubai and his tweet on the same on Thursday evening has evoked mixed response from the people.

Air India’s stopover flight from Vizag to Dubai, launched in March 2012, has been drawing good response over the years. But frequent travellers from Vizag to Dubai and vice versa have been complaining on the social media over the inordinate delay in Hyderabad.

“The Emirates flight from Vizag to Dubai will result in a saving of around ₹25,000 to passengers travelling from the U.S. to Dubai. This saves the cost of putting up at a hotel in Hyderabad and the need to pay for excess baggage on a domestic flight from Hyderabad,” says P. Raghu, a Vizag-based entrepreneur settled in the U.S.

On May19, 2015, Pran S. Dasan, Country Head of ‘flydubai’ for India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, wrote to the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, seeking permission to commence air services between Visakhapatnam and Dubai with a daily scheduled flight, based on the mutual EoI between flydubai and A.P.

The talk in various circles that the State government opted for a direct flight from Vijayawada to Dubai upset members of various associations. They drew the attention of IT Minister N. Lokesh during his recent visit to the city. While appreciating Mr. Naidu for taking up issue with Emirates Airlines, they feel he should immediately pursue the matter with the Union Minister for Civil Aviation and ensure that permission was accorded for operation of a direct flight to Dubai as flydubai, the Government of Dubai’s budget airline, had already sought permission for it.

“Dubai is the gateway to the IT destinations in the U.S. and Europe. Visakhapatnam, which is being projected as IT Hub of A.P., should have seamless connectivity to the IT hubs of the world,” says vice president of Vizag Development Council O. Naresh Kumar.