Finally, the long-awaited maiden Delhi-Adampur (Jalandhar district) flight landed at Adampur to a rousing welcome around 4:30 pm and took off back for Delhi at 5:10 pm.
Both Congress and BJP leaders were swift in taking credit for starting this flight from Adampur airport, which had been constructed adjacent to Adampur Air Force station under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
When it landed, the maiden flight’s passengers were welcomed with Bhangra and sweets amid beating of drums.
The 78-seater plane was full to capacity. Passengers included Union Minister of State Vijay Sampla, Congress MP Santokh Chaudhary, state BJP Chief Shwet Malik and members of Doaba Airport Welfare Association, which has been pressing with the airport demand for long.
Apart from politicians, most other passengers were prominent businessmen from Jalandhar along with their spouses.
“Ab Dilli door nahin (Now Delhi is not far away),” one of them said.
Sampla thanked the BJP-led government at the Centre for making the airport operational in record two years, which included land acquisition for the civil airport to the NRI belt of the state.
Chaudhary said Congress had made all the efforts to construct this airport and that the state government had released its share as soon as it came into power in March 2017 to speed up the work.
One of the passengers, Gagan Walia, said the experience was remarkable as “we reached Jalandhar in just 50 minutes from Delhi”.
“I bought a ticket for Rs 2,260. But there were passengers who purchased a ticket for Rs 17,000 to Rs 22,000,” said Gagan.
From the state government’s side, minister Sunder Sham Arora from Hoshiarpur welcomed the maiden flight and said it would play a key role in the transformation of the entire Doaba region, which is an NRI belt.
The flight will operate seven days a week with SpiceJet’s 78-seat aircraft.
A total of Rs 16.70 crore was spent on this project, of which Rs 16 crore was spent on acquiring 40 acres of land while the rest was used for road connectivity, water supply and electricity connection.