Government of Andhra Pradesh realized the potential of Vijawada to be developed into a major international airport. Feasibility studies found that if the runway, which is 7,500 feet now, is expanded, large aircrafts can land. This will increase the operation of national and international long-distance flights from the airport. Accordingly, State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in 2007 for the expansion of Vijawada Airport at Gannavaram. For the initial expansion about 300 acres of land was proposed to be acquired .
However, the proposed expansion was not initiated because of land acquisition issues. Villagers are opposing the expansion plan since the beginning. They formed a committee ‘Committee against the expansion of the airport’ for gearing the protest movement. In May 2008, the committee members constitute the land losers staged Dharna (sit in protest) in front of the Tahsildar’s (Lower rank Revenue Officer) office.
They submit their demand to the Tahsildar’s seeking justice to the poor people residing in the villages adjoining the airport .
The issue got a boost in September 2014; when the Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced in the State Assembly that the government will initiate the procedure to upgrade the airport into an international standard. The proposed expansion requires at least 498 acres. The airport is already about 500 acres. The district administration is planning to send proposals to government, to initiate land acquisition process from three villages near the airport. The land acquisition process would begin only after getting clearance from the government .