Bathinda-Jammu flight grounded till March 31 due to low occupancy

The Alliance Air flight was operating five days a week
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Updated on Nov 12, 2019 11:22 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByVishal Joshi, Bathinda

With the average occupancy of the lone Bathinda-Jammu flight remaining stuck at 70%, Alliance Air has decided to suspend the route till March 31.

The flight was operating five days a week, barring Tuesday and Thursday.

Bathinda airport director Varinder Singh told HT on Tuesday that Alliance Air (AA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, recently informed the airport authorities about the decision to ground flights to Jammu.

“Besides low occupancy rate on Bathinda-Jammu route, the maintenance work at Jammu airport is also stated to be behind the decision. The further decision over resumption of flights will be taken in April,” said Singh.

Flights on the Bathinda-Jammu route have been lying non-operational since October 27 when the winter schedule (between October 27 and March 28, 2020) was announced.

Meanwhile, an official said earlier it was proposed that the flight to Jammu from Bathinda will operate thrice a week — instead of five days a week — to cut down its operational cost.

“The Bathinda-Jammu route had an average occupancy of 70%, which is not considered encouraging. In August, Alliance Air had made changes in the flight schedule and it was decided to bring down its frequency to thrice a week to make it more economical. The changed schedule was to be accommodated in the winter schedule, but the public sector operator decided to shelve the plan for the winter period,” said an official.

“As per the initial proposal, a single 70-seater ATR-72 plane operating between Jammu and Delhi was to make a brief layover at the Bathinda airport. To bring down operational costs, it was proposed to use a single aircraft to cover three destinations—Delhi, Bathinda and Jammu,” said an official privy to the earlier proposal.

Set up at a cost of 5 crore at Virk Kalan village, about 30km from Bathinda city, in October 2012, the airport is located adjacent to the Indian Air Force station in Bhisiana. Currently, Bathinda is connected to New Delhi with thrice-a-week schedule and the route has an occupancy average of 80%.

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