Two months on, flights from Bathinda airport witness 50% occupancy
After two months of being made operational, the Bathinda-Delhi-Bathinda flight from Bathinda civilian airport at Virk Kalan village is witnessing about 50% average occupancy.punjab Updated: Feb 24, 2017 16:10 IST
After two months of being made operational, the Bathinda-Delhi-Bathinda flight from Bathinda civilian airport at Virk Kalan village is witnessing about 50% average occupancy.
As per records with the Airports Authorities of India (AAI), last week on Friday, 34 passengers travelled from Delhi to Bathinda, while 51 passengers boarded the flight from Bathinda to Delhi.
On Sunday, the occupancy shot up to 56 on Delhi-Bathinda flight, but dropped to 30 on Bathinda-Delhi route.
On Wednesday this week, 41 and 42 passengers took the flight on Delhi-Bathinda and Bathinda-Delhi routes, respectively.
An official of the AAI said that road connectivity is an issue as roads to the village are in bad state and should be improved.
An Air India official, on condition of anonymity, said that since flights from the airport have just started, they are satisfied with the occupancy, which is fluctuating at about 50% average.
He, however, added that they are hoping for the occupancy to increase gradually.
Commercial flights from the airport, that was constructed four years ago, were started on December 11 last year. Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, runs flights thrice a week every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in the said routes.
The aircraft starts at 12.15 noon from Delhi and arrives at 1.45pm in Bathinda and leaves from Bathinda at 2.15 noon to reach Delhi at 3.45pm. A seventy-seater ATR-72 aircraft is used for these services.
The increased fare is also considered as one of the impediment reasons behind the low occupancy rate. At the time of inauguration, the one-way fare was Rs 2,500, which has now been increased to Rs 3,900; while there has also been a demand of changing the flight timings to morning hours.
President of Punjab hotels, restaurants and resorts association, Satish Arora said that flights to other places such as Jammu and Jaipur should also be started from Bathinda as there is big potential of passengers on these routes and will help boost the tourism here.
“The administration should start local bus for providing better transportation to passengers up to airport. The youth prefer the flight. It suits those who have to board international flights from Delhi. The airport will definitely survive,” he said.
With a cost of Rs 5 crore the airport in Virk Kalan village about 30km from Bathinda city, adjacent to the Air Force station in Bhisiana was constructed in October 2012. The runway and the air traffic are maintained by the Air Force.