Here's good news for cricket buffs. Delhi-Dharamsala flights resume from May 15, just a day before the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium here.
This development comes almost eight months after the airport closed.
State civil aviation officials said Air India has announced that it would start the daily flight between Delhi and Dharamsala, also the abode of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, a day before the IPL match.
The second and the last IPL match to be played here is between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab May 18.
Kingfisher was the only airline that operated regular flights between Delhi and three airports in Himachal - Jubbarhatti near Shimla, Gaggal near Dharamsala and Bhuntar near Kullu. However, it discontinued operations in the state before it was grounded in October last year.
Shimla and Kullu airports remain shut.
"It's of course good news. Now we are expecting the arrival of good number of fans for both the matches," HPCA president Anurag Thakur, a member of the Lok Sabha, told IANS.
He said a request was made to the civil aviation ministry to start Air India flights ahead of the match, as lack of air connectivity proved a hindrance to the arrival of cricket fans in the final ODI between India and England here January 27.
The HPCA is leaving no stone unturned to make the IPL matches at its new showpiece venue, located at an altitude of 4,000 feet above sea level, with the mighty snow-clad Dhauladhar Ranges forming the backdrop, a memorable affair.
The popularity of the venue soared after the seven IPL matches in the past three seasons and the first ODI.