Under central government’s UDAN-II scheme, which aims to provide regional connectivity in the country, helicopter service between Shimla and Chandigarh was launched on Thursday by Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu. The helicopter service is scheduled to operate from Jubbarhatti airport, which is 22-kms from Shimla.
A “non-scheduled” helicopter service facilitated by the Himachal Pradesh government was operational between Shimla and Chandigarh since June, last year. However, with the launch of UDAN-II (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, a dedicated helicopter will be provided by the helicopter service provider Pawan Hans will.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the flight under UDAN-II would take off from Chandigarh at 10 am, and would reach Shimla at 10:30 am. The flight would then fly back to Chandigarh by 10:55 am. The one-way fare between Shimla and Chandigarh is for Rs 2,880.
The service would currently operate for three days a week. However, after a fortnight the service would be available for six days a week, the chief minister added.
Prabhu, who launched the scheme through video conferencing from New Delhi, said that other than facilitating better air connectivity to public, UDAN-II would help in providing faster connectivity to the people in times of health-related and other emergencies.
The scheme would also boost tourism in the state by providing air connectivity to the state, which would be availed by domestic and foreign tourists, Prabhu added.
UDAN-I, which provided air connectivity between New Delhi and Shimla, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April, 2017.
A senior official from the Civil Aviation department said that helicopter services between Shimla and Kullu and Shimla and Dharamshala will also begin within a month.