Wednesday, December 06, 2017

After revival, Ludhiana-Delhi AI flight sees 84 per cent occupancy

Ludhiana: Revived after three years under UDAN (Udey Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme of central government, the Air India flight from Ludhiana-Delhi from Sahnewal domestic airport has recorded 84 per cent occupancy since it was restarted on September 2 this year. Sahnewal domestic airport which operates the only flight (four days a week), handled 4,810 passengers from September 2 to December 4.
However, due to severe air pollution primarily due to stubble burning in paddy harvesting season that led to poor visibility, the flight was suspended from October 29 to November 20 as the airport lacks Instrument Landing System (ILS) which is mandatory for landing if visibility is less than 1,500 mt. The 70-seater (ATR-72) plane does round trips between Ludhiana and Delhi four days a week.
As per the latest figures with the The Indian Express, in September, the flight recorded 86.38 per cent occupancy. In October (before flight was suspended), the number stood at 82.32 per cent and in November it was 78.09 per cent (after flight was restarted). In December till Monday, flight has seen 90.71 per cent occupancy. The average occupancy since September has been 84.37 per cent.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Pawan Kumar, assistant manager, air traffic control department from Airport Authority of India (AAI) said that the response has been beyond expectations. “On an average there is more than 80 per cent occupancy both in departure and arrival flights,” he said.
However, landing facilities at Sahnewal airport still remain an issue. “Air India had to suspend the flight from October 29 to November 20 as air quality had deteriorated to extreme levels. The visibility levels were less than 1,000 mt and it was too risky to land the flights here. On some days, it was even 800 mt. It was resumed after visibility improved,” he said.
06/12/17 Divya Goyal/Indian Express