Darbhanga airport: Nearly 5 lakh air travellers take UDAN flights

Nearly half a million passengers have availed of the Modi government’s regional air connectivity scheme — Udan — since its launch of flight operation on November 8 last year from Darbhanga airport, data compiled by the Airport Authority of India revealed
Darbhanga airport was made operation in November last year. (HT photo)
Darbhanga airport was made operation in November last year. (HT photo)
Published on Oct 23, 2021 09:51 AM IST
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ByBishnu K Jha

Nearly half a million passengers have availed of the Modi government’s regional air connectivity scheme — Udan — since its launch of flight operation on November 8 last year from Darbhanga airport, data compiled by the Airport Authority of India revealed.

Despite the lack of adequate amenities, Darbhanga airport is getting busier. On Friday, the airport handled 2240 passengers onboard 14 flights. The total number of passengers travelled to and from Darbhanga airport to date since flight operation was launched here is 4,91,199. Likewise, as many as 3402 flights were operated since its launch with the inaugural flight on the Bengaluru-Darbhanga route.

Darbhanga airport is connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata sectors and has become the best performing RCS airport across the country. Low-cost carrier SpiceJet is the selected airline operator under the UDAN scheme. Later on, another popular airline, IndiGo, also started flight operations from here a couple of months ago.

Meanwhile, former professor in the department of social science and humanities at IIT Madras, Shreesh Choudhary, a Darbhanga native, said, although there is a lack of passenger facilities, yet new employment opportunities have been created in North Bihar either directly or indirectly. However, some small things need to be changed quickly.

“Passengers are now stopped on the road outside and from there, they have to walk about several hundred meters on foot to reach the terminal. This road inside is not even walkable, dragging luggage on it, bringing wheelchairs for disabled passengers to the terminal, keeping them standing at the gate till then could be a terrible experience for passengers,” he asserted.

It is unfair to stop them on the road itself, obstructing the traffic there, he quipped further adding, Darbhanga experiences high rainfall, scorching summer and chilly winter which affects sick people and senior citizens who also travel by air for treatment.

When contacted, Darbhanga district magistrate (DM) Thiyagrajan SM said the district administration is conscious of the rapid development of issues with regard to the airport and adjoining areas.

“We also understand the priorities of state government in this regard”.

The DM informed that the state government has sanctioned a significant project to directly link NH-527B with a 60ft wide gate of the airport to provide access to the current civil enclave. The work on the new project has already been taken up and construction is likely to be completed by the year-end. The measure will obviate the need for entry to civil enclave through Air Force gate no. 2. Thus, passengers no longer will have to depend on a long walk to reach the civil enclave.

The DM also pointed out that upon the personal instruction of the chief minister, work on raising the boundary wall of the airport in view of security reasons is about to start within 15-20 days. The view cutter will be installed. On the other hand, to do away with the menace of blue bull, the state government has also sanctioned a scheme for erecting chain link fencing around the runway stretching up to 10 kms. The work on this score will start in November for which the tender process is on.

The DM asserted that the land acquisition issue has been accorded top priority and efforts will be made to complete the process in the shortest possible time frame.

Early this month, the state cabinet gave a budgetary fillip to the proposal for the construction of a permanent terminal building for the civil enclave at Darbhanga airport by giving its nod to the expenditure of over 336 crore for the acquisition of 78-acre land. The acquired land is to be handed over ‘free of cost’ to the AAI for setting up a permanent civil enclave at Darbhanga airport, which is under the control of the Indian Air Force.

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Friday, January 28, 2022