Kullu, November 26
Air India will not operate its regular flights between Kullu and Chandigarh during December and January. Kullu Air India station manager Dinesh Bhardwaj said from December 2 to Januray 31, the flights would not operate due to unfavourable weather conditions.
He added that bookings would be done only if weather would be favourable in the last week of January. Bhardwaj said seats would be available after February 1. Regular flights to Delhi would continue depending on the weather.
Air India had started daily flight operations between Kullu and Chandigarh from October 13, except on Sundays. The operations were being carried out using the same 70-seater ATR-72 aircraft that was operating between Kullu and Delhi. The lowest airfare for one-way travel was Rs 3,600, while the tickets were generally available for around Rs 5,000. The highest fare was Rs 18,000 for one-way travel between Kullu and Chandigarh.
During the inaugural flight to Chandigarh on October 5, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had stated that Kullu-Chandigarh sector would be included in the second version of UDAN scheme and the fares would be reduced further. Dinesh said the load on the flight between Kullu and Chandigarh was less that 50 per cent.
The 70-seater aircraft is allowed to ferry around 30 passengers while departing from Kullu due to load stipulation because of the short runway.
It is allowed to bring in around 40 passengers while landing at the Kullu-Manali airport in Bhuntar. The masses associated with the tourism industry here had lauded the efforts of Air India to revive the Chandigarh flight after a span of about two decades. They hoped that various facilities at the Bhuntar airport would be upgraded to enable air operations during adverse weather to promote winter tourism in the valley.
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