The proposed restrictions on civilian aircraft at Visakhapatnam International Airport will have an adverse impact on the growth of IT exports apart from causing a dent in passenger traffic, seafood and pharma exports.
Visakhapatnam, the 9th largest city in India in terms of GDP growth, contributes to over 90 % of the IT exports from Andhra Pradesh. Vizag is presently offering over 8,000 jobs through companies such as HSBC, WNS and Patra India.
“The revenue from IT exports post bifurcation of AP was around Rs. 2,000 crore, of which Rs.1,500 crore came from Vizag alone. IT sector requires air connectivity within India as also to destinations across the globe. The present move to restrict the timings of civilian flights will take the IT sector 10 steps backwards,” says R.L. Narayana, president of IT Association of AP.
“Both the Central and State governments had spoken of their vision to develop the city as an IT Hub for AP but the present move is contrary to their plans. The State government had set its sight on achieving a target for IT exports at Rs.10,000 crore during the next couple of years. The restriction on flights will destroy the ‘IT image’ of Vizag and we estimate that there could be drastic fall in revenues,” Mr. Narayana says.
“The decision will have an adverse impact on existing IT investors, prospective investors and clients. After the launch of the direct flight to Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), a Malaysian-based company has invested Rs. 6,000 crore for the manufacture of surgical gloves in the AP Medtech Zone (MTZ) in Visakhapatnam. We have received orders for software development for that company,” says Ravi Eswarapu, former president of ITAAP.
Flow of investments
“Similarly, we received $2 million worth of orders for software solutions to a Sri Lankan company after direct connectivity was provided to Colombo from Visakhapatnam by SriLankan Airlines. At a time when we are hoping to get direct flight connections from the US and Europe to further our exports, the proposed restriction has dampened the spirits of the IT industry,” he said.
“Apart from four international flights from Vizag, the international hubs in Colombo, Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai provide connecting flights to reach most of the destinations across the world. The SriLankan flight from Vizag offers connecting flights to nine different destinations from Vizag,” says K. Vijay Mohan, president of the Tours and Travel Operators of Andhra (TTOA).
“The connecting flights from the international hubs cannot be expected to change their schedules and passengers from Vizag will miss their onwards connections to the Middle East and Europe,” he added.
Source: The Hindu