The cheers were back for residents of Himachal Pradesh on Monday, with Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur virtually launching the flight service between Shimla and Delhi after a gap of nearly two years on Monday.
CM Thakur launched the regular flights between the cities by flagging off a new ATR-42-600 aircraft of Alliance Air from Shimla Airport at Jubbarhatti on Monday morning. Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, General VK Singh attended the program virtually from Delhi.
“Connectivity remains a big challenge in a hilly state like Himachal Pradesh and the state government has been making constant efforts to increase the air connectivity in the state,” CM Thakur said after Monday’s inauguration adding that due to technical reasons, flights were not able to operate at Shimla airport for almost two years. But now, with the efforts of the state administration and with the support of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, Alliance Air flights between Shimla and Delhi will operate seven days a week.
As per officials, the ATR-42-600 aircraft of Alliance Air is capable of carrying 48 passengers from Delhi to Shimla. But the maximum occupancy on the route will be limited to 24.
The CM further said that 50 per cent of seats on the flights would have a subsidized fare of Rs 2480 only, under the ‘UDAN’ scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The fare for other seats would be determined by the company, added the Chief Minister.
Apart from this, officials said that various official formalities regarding the proposed International Green Field Airport at Mandi was also being completed rapidly and on a priority basis.
As per details of the schedule, flight 9I 821 will depart from Delhi at 7.10 am and arrive in Shimla by 8.20 pm. The return flight, 9I 822, will depart from Shimla at 8.50 am and will reach Delhi by 10 am. Only the window seats on the flight will be offered to passengers.
“Opening new air routes increases connectivity and brings revenue for the state government. We believe in the PM’s vision of atmanirbharta,” read a release by Alliance Air, a division of Air India Asset Holdings, which specialises in connecting remote regions.