AIR INDIA will start operating four flights a week from Chandigarh to Thailand’s capital Bangkok from October 29, the airline told the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday.
In an affidavit submitted before a division bench of the High Court, Station Manager G S Tomar said the airline “proposed to commence operations on Chandigarh-Bangkok route” from October 29 with a new ‘A-320 Neo’ aircraft. The response came in a civil writ petition before the HC bench on the condition of Chandigarh International Airport.
The High Court was also informed that it would take four months to procure the plant and machinery for resurfacing of the runway because of which no time-frame has been set for the completion of the carpeting work. “It is a very high technical job and one of the kind being done for the first time,” the central government counsel told the division bench.
Submitting its response on the status of Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto flight from the Amritsar airport, Air India has said it has no immediate plans to resume the Amritsar-Toronto flights directly as they have been incurring heavy operational losses on a consistent basis.
“The flights continue to incur losses even with the current routing of Amritsar-Delhi-Brimingham, and as per the financial figures, the flight has incurred a loss of Rs 9.93 crore in the month of January this year and a cumulative loss of Rs 133 crore for the period April 16 to January 17,” said the Air India in its response.
The HC Bench during the previous hearing had asked the airline to prove that the claim of petitioners was wrong that 92 per cent of the passenger traffic was from Amritsar region during 2006-2008 when Air India was operating its flight from New Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham instead of from Amritsar-New Delhi-Birmingham
However, the airline only submitted the data from 2013-2016 saying that only 35 per cent board the flight at Amritsar and said the reversing of the pattern would result in a loss of the traffic from other points which currently connect in Delhi and there would be further increase in the losses of the operation on the route.
“This is the data of now and not what we asked you (Air India) to discount. Time has changed. Unfortunately, your general manager system has not changed,” the division bench observed, adding that the airlines which were unheard of yesterday are now planning to take over Air India.
A high-level meeting on the issues related to Chandigarh airport is scheduled in the first week of August in Delhi. The proceedings of the meeting will be submitted before the HC bench on the next date of hearing on August 16.