The first air travel route in Maharashtra under the regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Har Nagrik), connecting Nanded and Hyderabad, has witnessed at least 50 per cent booking since its kick-off last month. The regional airline operating the Nanded-Hyderabad flight, Trujet, said the religious significance of the two cities, along with low air-fares, were the reasons for the good response.
Trujet launched its Nanded-Hyderabad route on April 25. According to airline officials, each service has had more than 50 per cent booking in each direction. The Regional Air Connectivity Scheme was launched last month with 128 regional routes awarded to five airlines operating low-cost flights. Under the scheme, at least half the seats on every flight are to be made available under Rs 2,500 per seat per hour of flying.
“We are using 70-seater ATRs to connect passengers between the two cities. The route sees one trip each in both directions on a daily basis. So far, we have seen a positive response in terms of bookings. While weekdays see bookings up to 35-40 seats, weekends see a huge rush with as many as 50-55 seats occupied,” an official spokesperson from Trujet said.
Officials claim the religious importance of the two cities results in good traffic from other states. “Nanded is an important religious place for the Sikh community across the world due to the presence of Guru Gobind Singh Gurudwara. In the initial days of the route’s opening, passengers from across metropolitan cities such as Delhi,Kolkata and Punjab flew to Hyderabad only to reach Nanded. Due to the lack of direct connectivity to Nanded from any other cities, this new route has become popular,” the official added.
Daljeet Singh, a representative of the Nanded Gurdwara Board from Hyderabad, said: “Passengers have expressed joy over being able to make the journey between the two cities in an hour. As opposed to spending six to seven hours by railways or road, we are able to get a comfortable journey till Nanded. The route has seen Sikh community traffic from areas like Hong Kong and Bangkok as well.”
Trujet has pegged the highest fare at Rs1,600 per seat. Seats booked in advance cost as little as Rs1,000. “The low cost is another reason to generate response for the flight,” the official added. Airline officials said a Mumbai-Nanded route may be launched between May 20 and 25.