In a move that will benefit residents of Ludhiana and adjoining districts, flight operations from the Sahnewal airport will start from next month under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, MP Ravneet Singh Bittu has said.
The airport has been lying defunct for nearly three years. The Ludhiana MP met minister of state (MoS) for civil aviation Jayant Sinha in New Delhi on Thursday to speed up the process. He also met Punjab officials in this regard.
In a press release issued here, Bittu said Alliance Air will start regular flights in June while Deccan Charters will start flights in August.
For flights having a distance of 500km or less or lasting not more than an hour, 50% seats per flight have been capped at Rs 2,500 apiece under the central scheme.
To begin with, the Sahnewal airport will have flights to Delhi followed by Mumbai and other major cities.
Bittu said the Punjab government will help the airlines ensure better air connectivity in the state. Earlier, the airlines had suspended flights from the airport as they incurred losses. But now, the state and cental governments will provide financial aid to these companies if they suffer losses.
Bittu said the Punjab government has apprised him that it is cooperating with the Centre on issues like viability gap funding, relief on taxes on aviation fuel at refuelling facilities, exemption from landing charges and hanger facilities.
The issue of adding length to the airstrip at the airport is also under the state government’s consideration.