CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN Chandigarh and different parts of the country is all set to get a boost as national carrier Air India on Tuesday announced two direct flights to Pune and Mumbai from January 16. The total number of flights operating from Chandigarh International Airport will now go up to 23.
Adding to connectivity is a fresh proposal by Ambala division of Northern Railway, which wants to start one additional Shatabdi train from Chandigarh to Delhi on Sundays.
Starting from January 16, two direct flights will operate to Pune and Mumbai. The flight between Mumbai and Chandigarh will take off from Mumbai at 7.20 am and land in Chandigarh at 10 am. From Chandigarh, the flight to Mumbai (AI 642) will take off at 5.45 pm and reach Mumbai at 8.10 pm.
The Pune flight will take off from Chandigarh at 10.50 am and land in Pune at 1.20 pm. The flight will take off from Pune at 2 pm and then land in Chandigarh at 4.30 pm.
Both the flights, officials said, will run from Monday to Friday. At present, no flight operates to Pune while five flights operate from Chandigarh to Mumbai daily. Among the 22 flights operating from the Chandigarh International Airport, there are two international flights which operate from Chandigarh.
The announcement of new flights will give a boost to connectivity from the Chandigarh International Airport. On Saturday, Air India reintroduced its flight service from Chandigarh to Leh. They have already announced starting of flights to Singapore and Bangkok in 2017. Jet Airways is also planning to start a daily flight from Chandigarh International Airport to Abu Dhabi (AUH) this year.
Airport authority officials in Chandigarh had last week told Chandigarh Newsline four new destinations would have direct flights from the city this year. “Two new flights have been announced today. We are hopeful that soon there will be flights to Goa and Chennai as well,” said CEO, Chandigarh Airport, Sunil Dutt, adding that they were expecting flights to new domestic and international sectors this year.
Tour operators in city have welcomed the Air India announcement. “It is good news for Chandigarh. Direct connectivity to new destinations is something which is a must,” said Vishal Sharma, manager at Cox and Kings in Sector 8.
He said that there should be more flights to metropolitan cities and also to international sectors, including Southeast Asia, because there is a “huge potential from Chandigarh for these destinations”.
Northern Railway has proposed one more Shatabdi on Sundays from Chandigarh to Delhi. Currently, two trains operate on Sundays between Chandigarh and Delhi. “At present, two Shatabdi trains operate from Chandigarh on Sunday. We see a huge rush on Sundays from the city to Delhi and we have submitted a proposal that one more Shatadbi train be started,” said Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala Division, Dinesh Kumar.