Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on 8 February 2016 announced plans to develop aircraft carrier INS Viraat as a tourism center. It will be developed as a tourism centre after its decommissioning at Vishakhapatnam in June 2016.
During the International Fleet Review held in Vishakhapatnam, the Andhra Pradesh government requested the Defence Ministry to allot INS Viraat to it after decommissioning.
For this, Naidu said that a joint venture would be set up by the Andhra Pradesh government the Indian Navy and a private organisation to take up the tourism-related activities such as yachting, sea sports, sailing, gliding and cruising would be promoted.
With nearly 1500 rooms, a conference hall with a capacity to seat 500 people and a helipad are available in the aircraft carrier, the State government has plans to establish a restaurant too.
INS Viraat, the aircraft career that has had a service life of 56 years - first as HMS Hermes in the Royal British Navy and in its present avatar since 1987 - will be decommissioned in June 2016. It saw action in the Falklands War.
Following the decommissioning of the first Indian carrier INS Vikrant in 1997, it remained as the sole aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean for over a decade.
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