In a boost to air connectivity in the region, the first flight from Delhi, operated by Alliance Air, landed at the Bathinda airport on Sunday. Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju inaugurated the newly built civil air terminal at Virk Kalan village in Bathinda and the flight for the Delhi-Bathinda-Delhi sector.
Onboard the maiden flight operated by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, Raju, along with Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha, Union food processing industries minister and Bathinda MP Harimrat Kaur Badal and Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment and Punjab BJP chief Vijay Sampla landed at the Bathinda airport where they were received by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The flight was welcomed with fire engines spraying water on it.
Centre to boost connectivity
Addressing a gathering, Raju said the central government aims to boost regional connectivity by making operational 32 regional airports lying unutilised and Bathinda was one these. He said 15 such airports would be made functional within a year. Raju said the Union government was focusing on strengthening the cargo services which would help traders and farmers.
The minister said the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes had not affected the civil aviation sector. “Rather the sector has achieved a growth of 20.5% last month,” he added.
Flights from Pathankot, Ludhiana soon
Raju said Pathankot and Ludhiana airports will become functional by summer next year. Talking to reporters, Sinha said initially there will be three flights from Pathankot and Ludhiana airports and the frequency will be increased gradually.
Sinha said the Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham flight has also been accorded sanction by the Union government which would provide a direct link from Amritsar to Britain from April 1 next year. He said the Adampur airport had also been approved by the Union government and work on the project would start once the design is ready.
Speaking on the occasion, Sukhbir said the inauguration of this airport has brought Bathinda on the world map. Industry in the area will get boost with the commencement of flights from the airport. The state government had allocated land for the Adampur airport and its foundation stone will be laid soon, he added.