SUMMER SCHEDULE: Bathinda-Jammu flights continue to be suspended
As the summer schedule of domestic flights will be implemented from March 29, air connectivity on Bathinda-Jammu route will continue to be suspended indefinitely.
Bathinda airport director Varinder Singh told HT on Sunday that as per the new flight plan (between March 29 and October 26) issued by the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), a proposal to start daily flight on Delhi-Bathinda route has also not found any mention.
Alliance Air (AA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, is the sole service provider from Bathinda.
Singh said flights on the Bathinda-Jammu route have been lying non-operational since October 27 when the winter schedule was announced.
Before the suspension of the flight service, Bathinda-Jammu flight was operating five days a week, barring Tuesday and Thursday, he added.
Officials said it was earlier expected that Jammu flight will be restarted to benefit pilgrims to Vaishno Devi and those going for Amarnath yatra that starts in summers.
They said earlier there was a proposal that flight to Jammu will operate thrice a week to cut down its operational cost.
“There was an average occupancy of 70% on Jammu route that was not a fair profit-making proposition. As a cost-cutting measure, it was proposed that a single 70-seater ATR-72 plane operating between Jammu and Delhi may make a brief layover at the Bathinda airport. It was planned to use a single aircraft to cover three destinations—Delhi, Bathinda and Jammu. But the proposal was shelved last year,” said an official.
Meanwhile, the airport director said as per the revised summer schedule, the AA flight on Bathinda-Delhi will continue on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with changed flight timings.
It will take off from Delhi at 11.55 am and land in Bathinda at 1.15 pm. After 25 minutes of landing in Bathinda, the same plane will take off for Delhi at 1.40 pm.
Singh said a feasibility report by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had stated that the Bathinda airport can handle daily flights to Delhi planned by the national airline carrier authorities. Ever since the Delhi-Bathinda air connectivity was started on December 12, 2016, there has been an average occupancy of 80%, he added.
“However, the DGCA has not given the nod to daily flights to Delhi. We don’t know the reason behind this decision,” he said.