Shimla, September 26
It is after nearly two-and-a-half years that the state capital finally got air connectivity with the Alliance Air aircraft landing at the Jubbarhatti airport from Delhi this morning.
- 7.10 am departure from Delhi
- 8.20 am arrival in Shimla
- 8.50 am departure from Shimla
- 10 am arrival at Delhi
- 7-day a week by Alliance Air
- 48 passengers to fly from Delhi to Shimla,
- 24 on return journey
- 50 pc seats will have a subsidised fare of Rs 2,480
Though the flights were to be resumed on September 6, inclement weather conditions hampered the restoration of the flights.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur inaugurated the flight virtually from Bagsiad village in Seraj, Mandi district. Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, General VK Singh (Retd), also participated in the programme virtually from Delhi.
The Chief Minister said the connectivity remained a big challenge in a hilly state like Himachal Pradesh and the government was making efforts to enhance the air connectivity. Due to technical reasons, flights could not be operated from the Shimla airport for almost two years. With the efforts of the government and the support of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, Alliance Air flights between Shimla and Delhi would now be operated seven days a week.
Thakur said the ATR-42-600 aircraft would carry 48 passengers from Delhi to Shimla, while the maximum strength on return flight would be 24. He said 50 per cent seats on these flights would have a subsidised fare of Rs 2,480 while the fare for other seats would be determined by the company.
The CM said various formalities regarding the proposed international greenfield airport in Mandi were being completed on priority and the government was trying its best to turn this dream project into a reality. The flight would not just connect Delhi but also Dharamsala and Kullu. Air Alliance acquired a new fixed wing aircraft ATR -42 (600) which has been pressed into service between Shimla-Delhi-Shimla.
The resumption of flights will give a major boost to the tourism industry, which has been ailing post-Covid. The resumption of flights from Shimla has been a long-pending demand of hoteliers and its launch, especially during the festival season, is expected to give a major boost to tourism.
While the flight between Shimla and Delhi will operate all seven days, the one linking Shimla-Kullu will be four days a week and between Shimla and Dharamsala thrice a week.
While the two airports at Bhuntar in Kullu and Gaggal in Dharamsala have regular and reliable air connectivity, the tourism sector in Shimla has suffered due to the absence of regular and dependable flights from the Jubbarhatti airport, near here.
Efforts to link Shimla through heli-taxi have also failed to take off, affecting the arrival of high-end tourists. Some of the luxury hotels in the state capital had even agreed to take guarantee for some seats in case air connectivity was resumed.
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