KULLU, APRIL 7
Aviation experts have demanded that Alliance Air should start operations of Dornier-228 for Kullu and Shimla. They said various airlines should be encouraged to procure aircraft suitable for shorter runways. It would increase the competition and boost economy of the region, besides benefiting commuters.
The experts state that ATR-72, having 70 seats being used by Alliance Air to conduct the sole flight here, is allowed to carry 18 to 20 passengers during from Kullu due to load stipulation because of the short runway. It is allowed to carry around 50 passengers while landing here, making it economically unfeasible and that is why the fare between Kullu and Delhi is exorbitant.
Bhupender Thakur, chief patron, Kullu Travel Agents Association (KTAA), said Alliance Air was charging around Rs 25,771 for one way from Kullu to Delhi. There was a lot of potential in this tourist destination and seats are generally not available, especially during the peak seasons, even at such high fares. With the coming of other players, the fares would become much more competitive which would benefit the tourists. He said the destinations like Leh, Jaipur and Dharamsala could also be connected from here. Earlier, Jagson Airlines had operated Dornier-228 profitably here for quite a long tenure.
The beneficiaries of the tourism industry have been demanding the improvement in the air connectivity to the region. Even Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had appealed to airline operators to operate flights to the Kullu-Manali airport at Bhuntar. The beneficiaries said firm commitment was required from the government to boost air connectivity to the region.