NEW DELHI - The first direct flight from Amaravati's Vijaywada Airport to Singapore landed at Changi Airport on Wednesday morning (Dec 5), completing a round trip that takes less than four hours either way.
The state of Andhra Pradesh, in south-east India, is developing Amaravati as a new capital city, with plans for homes, industries and world-class infrastructure.
Several firms from Singapore have been involved in planning and developing the city.
In a Facebook post, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran - who is also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations - called the new air link between Singapore and Amaravati "another significant milestone in Singapore's partnership with Andhra Pradesh to build the new capital city of Amaravati".
"It will not only increase connectivity between Andhra Pradesh and Singapore but also strengthen our people-to-people linkages."
"Many people travel frequently to Andhra Pradesh for business. Flying direct to Vijayawada in just under four hours, and from there take a short drive to the capital city Amaravati, will save them significant time and hassle."
Amaravati is on the banks of the Krishna river next to Vijaywada.
Officials from the Amaravati Partnership Office and Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry welcomed guests on the flight operated by Indian carrier Indigo Airlines, which will fly twice weekly to Singapore and back.
The first leg of the trip took off from Singapore and landed in Vijaywada airport on Tuesday.
Singapore has been involved in the city's development since the beginning, with Surbana Jurong submitting the city's masterplan in 2015 and Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development chosen as master developers for a 6.84 sq km start-up area or the commercial core of the capital city.
Singapore has appointed Authorised Visa Agents (AVAs) in Vijayawada to facilitate Indian nationals visiting Singapore as well as those who are transiting in the Republic, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Indian officials said that the air link would help develop the city of Amaravati.
"There was no direct flight to Singapore so people had to go to Chennai or Hyderabad. Singapore is associated with the capital city development. So many people are coming and going," said Mr Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary (Investment and Infrastructure) in the Andhra Pradesh government.
"We are also looking at connecting to Dubai. So from Singapore and Dubai you can fly anywhere in the world. This will boost tourism, culture and industry," he added.
The Andhra Pradesh Singapore Business Council (APSBC), which was formed by the Singapore Business Federation and the Confederation of Indian Industry, said air connectivity would boost business.
"The direct connectivity will see greater flow of business travellers into Andhra Pradesh and encourage Singapore companies which are seeking opportunities in Andhra Pradesh," sad APSBC in a statement.
The council said it has organised several business missions to the state and is working with Singapore companies for their participation in Amaravati Construction City.