Another Indian city has joined the list of direct air links between the country and Singapore. The maiden direct flight landed at Changi Airport in Singapore from the Vijaywada airport in Andhra Pradesh on the morning of December 5, after completing a round trip. The Vijaywada flight aims to connect Singapore to Amaravati, which is being built at the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.

The flight operated by Indigo Airlines took less than four hours either way. It will fly twice every week from Vijaywada to Singapore and back.

Vijaywada is a short distance away from Amaravati. Several firms from Singapore is involved in developing the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, where new homes, industries and world-class infrastructure are coming up.

Welcoming the new air link, Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran called it “another significant milestone in Singapore’s partnership with Andhra Pradesh to build the new capital city of Amaravati”.

In a Facebook post, Iswaran said, “It (the flight service) will not only increase connectivity between Andhra Pradesh and Singapore but also strengthen our people-to-people linkages. I would like to thank all who have worked hard to make this flight possible, and look forward to further deepening Singapore’s ties with Andhra Pradesh and India.”

The first leg of the trip took off from Singapore and landed in Vijaywada airport on 4 December.

“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,” Iswaran posted.

Officials from the Amaravati Partnership Office and Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry welcomed guests on the flight.

Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in 2014 to carve out a new state of Telangana, which had been a long pending demand. It was decided that the existing capital of Hyderabad would go to Telangana, and Amaravati will be built as the new capital of Andhra. The state was given 10 years’ time to build Amaravati and shift the capital from Hyderabad to the new city.

Singapore has been involved in the development of Amaravati since the beginning. Singapore-headquartered Surbana Jurong submitted the city’s masterplan in 2015. Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development were selected to develop a 6.84 sq km start-up area or the city’s commercial core.

Singapore has appointed authorised visa agents in Vijayawada to facilitate Indian nationals visiting Singapore as well as those who are transiting in the Republic, according to a report in the The Straits Times.

Until now, there had been no direct flight to Singapore from Andhra. People had to go either to Chennai or to Hyderabad catch a flight.

“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,” Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary (Investment and Infrastructure) in the Andhra Pradesh government, told the Singapore daily.

In a statement, the Andhra Pradesh Singapore Business Council, which was formed by the Singapore Business Federation and the Confederation of Indian Industry, said the 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,” it said.