Friday, September 18, 2020

Few takers, no Ludhiana flight for a week; fresh schedule out

Ludhiana: Call it the Covid effect or other restrictions on travel but for the time being, the industrial capital of the state is off the air map of the country as the lone Delhi-Ludhiana-Delhi flight has been suspended for the past eight days and it might take another week or so for the flight to resume with a new schedule.

Air India officials attributed the suspension of flight from September 1 to 24 to extremely low passenger load which had turned the flight financially unviable. “Once the flight resumes with a revised morning schedule from September 24, the passenger load will be assessed and a final decision will be taken,” an Air India official said.

The air connectivity with the National Capital remained suspended for nearly two months after a lockdown was imposed in March. The flight had resumed in May 25 when domestic flights were allowed with certain restrictions.

However, the passenger load remained low during the May-August period as business and industrial activity in the city were adversely affected post the lockdown and only a few passengers were travelling by air to Delhi. Even when the flight restarts from September 24, its continuity will depend solely on volume of passenger load because the three-year period of ‘viability gap funding’ by the Centre and state government under the UDAN scheme also expired in the first week of September, an official said.

18/09/20 Kuldip Bhatia/Tribune

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