Scheduled flight operations will resume from the Jubbarhatti airport near Shimla from Thursday onwards after a hiatus of nearly four years.
The airport will have daily flights to Delhi, Chandigarh, Kangra and Kullu through a nine-seater carrier. Scheduled flights were suspended from the airport in September 2012, citing economic viability and other issues.
However, chartered flights were resumed from the airport in 2015. On Thursday (June 9), state urban development minister Sudhir Sharma will flag off Air Himalaya flights to Chandigarh, Shimla, Kullu and Dharamshala.
The Shimla-Chandigarh flight would take off at 2.20pm, Chandigarh-Shimla 10.50am, Shimla-Gaggal 11.30am and the Gaggal-Shimla flight at 1pm daily. Besides, the airline will also have Chandigarh-Kullu flight at 8.50am and the Kullu-Chandigarh flight at 9.50am.
Urban development minister Sudhir Sharma said only small aircraft would fly from the airport. “This will provide good air connectivity to the state besides boosting tourism activities,” Sharma said. At present, the Gaggal airport has four scheduled flights from Delhi and so is Bhuntar airport in Kullu.
Unaware of the development, Shimla airport director GCS Rawat said non-scheduled flights have been operation from the Shimla airport. “The airport is ready for scheduled flights as well,” he said.
The Air Himalaya is owned by a Manali-based orchardist Budhi Prakash Thakur and it is collaborating with Hyderabad-based technology firm to run daily operations.
The airline is already providing charter flights from Chandigarh to Kullu. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had pointed out some issues which the Shimla airport authority claims to have solved with the help of local administration.
In 2012, flights from the airport were suspended in the wake of soil erosion, leading to runway shrinkage from 4,100 feet to 3,800 feet.