Saturday, April 28, 2018

SpiceJet likely to operate flights from Darbhanga

Patna:  Darbhanga has emerged as the strong contender in the state for commercial flight operations under the Centre’s much-ambitious regional connectivity scheme (RCS).
If Airports Authority of India (AAI) sources are to be believed, SpiceJet has won the bid to operate flights from Darbhanga airstrip. The private airline has planned flights to Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai from Darbhanga. AAI sources said the bidding was held three months back in the national capital in which Kishanganj airstrip was also in the race. However, no airline showed interest to operate flights from Kishanganj. Sources said after Darbhanga, Purnia might be the second airstrip in the state from where commercial flights would operate in the near future.
The commercial flights from Darbhanga are likely to operate from the Indian Air Force (IAF) base spread over an area of 400 acres on the outskirts of the town. The runway at Darbhanga is at least 8,000-feet long in which aircrafts like A-320, extensively used by domestic carriers, can easily operate. “In comparison to Patna airport, the runway at Darbhanga is at least 1,000-feet longer,” they said, adding the basic infrastructure will be of IAF and the Indian Oil Corporation has agreed to supply fuel to commercial aircrafts through browsers (oil tankers).
According to official sources, the first commercial flight may take off from Darbhanga within 10 months.
Captain D K Singh, director (operation), state civil aviation directorate, said the state government had sent proposals to AAI for commercial flight operations from Bhagalpur, Kishanganj, Madhubani, Saran, Purnia and Darbhanga airfields under RCS. “However, except Darbhanga and Purnia, proposals for rest of the towns were rejected as their runways are hardly 3,000-feet long,” he said.
28/04/18 Debashish Karmakar/Times of India