Kullu, April 3
The seats on the sole Alliance Air flight between Kullu and Delhi have been sold out for most of the days from April 15 to August 10. The airline is generally charging Rs 25,771 for an 80-minute one-way flight from Kullu to Delhi.
Despite that, only a few seats are left. A travel agent, Vikrant, said seats were not available on the Kullu to Delhi flights for the entire season, barring a few days.
The 70-seater ATR-72 aircraft, operated by Alliance Air, is only allowed to carry around 25 passengers while departing from Kullu because of load stipulation due to the shorter runway of the Bhuntar airport. The authorities of the Alliance Air informed that flights were fully booked and only limited seats were left.
Bhupender Thakur, Chief Patron, Kullu Travel Agents Association (KTAA), said Alliance Air should increase the frequency and carry out two or three shuttle services between Kullu and Delhi daily during the season time. He said even earlier, one Avro plane of the government airline, Vayudoot, used to conduct three or four shuttle flights and all of these were overbooked, especially during the season time. He said the government should rope in other airlines to increase competition and promote the growth of the tourism industry.
KTAA president Atishaye said during the 80s and 90s, sometimes even four or five airlines used to carry out operations daily to Kullu and all of them reaped huge profits by plying on this sector. He said the Civil Aviation Ministry should direct other major airlines to operate on the Delhi-Kullu-Delhi sector under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme by providing them viability gap funding. He criticised the state Tourism Department for being unaware of the tourism potential of the state and added that there was not even a separate minister to look into the industry, which was the backbone of the economy of the state.
The beneficiaries of the tourism industry have been demanding the increase in the frequency of flights to Kullu and the extension of the runway here, a project that has been hanging fire for decades. Aviation experts said that Alliance Air could conduct two or three shuttle flights daily to boost air connectivity to the region and keep the fares affordable.
70-seater aircraft allowed to carry only 25
- The 70-seater ATR-72 aircraft, operated by Alliance Air, is only allowed to carry around 25 passengers while departing from Kullu because of load stipulation due to the shorter runway of the Bhuntar airport.
- The authorities of the Alliance Air informed that flights were fully booked and only limited seats were left.