Thursday, January 28, 2021

AAI seeks resumption of Vijayawada-Varanasi flight on textile traders’ plea

Vijayawada: Following the demand from textile traders and Cloth Merchants’ Association in Vijayawada, Airport Authority of India (AAI) has reportedly written to airline companies to resume operating direct flight services between Vijayawada-Varanasi. Apart from pilgrims visiting the famous Kashi Viswanath temple in Varanasi, traders dealing with textiles travel to Varanasi for making bulk purchase orders from the traders there. Varanasi is famous for garments and traders from across south India and other parts of the country purchase garments from there.

Over the years there is a huge demand for flight services between Varanasi and Vijayawada, especially from devotees thronging the Kashi Vishwanath temple and from textile traders, official sources said. Considering their demand, SpiceJet launched its flight Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 189 seating capacity to Vijayawada from Varanasi via Hyderabad in February 2017. At that time, the passenger occupancy ratio stood between 70 per cent to 80 per cent.

However due to various reasons, the airliner cancelled its services. Since then, the textile traders are procuring the clothing stocks through goods trains and road transport. Recently during the Covid-19 relaxations, the textile traders and the association have given a representation to the airport authorities seeking resumption of flight services between both the cities. In their representation the traders also mentioned about procuring clothing stock in bulk from Varanasi on a weekly basis.

“We have written to the aircraft companies to resume flight services between Vijayawada and Varanasi considering the demand from the textile traders and devotees. A few expressed their willingness for operating the services. Besides that, we also sought the aircraft companies to explore the possibility of operating cargo flights,” Airport Director G Madhusudana Rao told TNIE. He said they are awaiting confirmation from the companies and expecting to announce resumption of flight services.  

28/01/21  Sistla Dakshina Murthy/Indian Express

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