Thursday, February 18, 2021

Flights may double from Ranchi by April with focus on tier 2 cities

Ranchi: The number of flights taking off from the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi is likely to double by April with focus on connecting tier two cities like Lucknow, Guwahati and Trivandrum with the Jharkhand capital, officials from the transport department said.

“We want to add new flights to tier two cities in the summer schedule. We are in talks with some airline companies and hopeful that air connectivity to tier two cities will increase in the summer schedule of flights from Ranchi,” said state transport secretary K Ravi Kumar, who recently met Airport Authority of India officials and the Ranchi airport director to discuss the future course of action.

At present, around 17 flights take off from Ranchi and land here every day. The number, airport officials said, is likely to go up at 32 in April once new flights are added.

An official, talking on behalf of the airport director Vinod Sharma, who was not on duty on Sunday, said that Ranchi is likely to get direct flights to Jaipur, Lucknow, Trivandrum and some other tier two cities from April. The official, however, refused to be named.

The state government recently lifted flight restrictions on the Birsa Munda Airport and gave its nod to increase the number of flights to and from Ranchi. The only operational airport in Jharkhand is well connected to the metro cities across India. Ranchi already had direct flights to New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad. In the past couple of months, Indigo Airlines also started flights to Pune and Ahmedabad from the city.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI) has also been pressing for new flight services from Ranchi. The trade body had also expressed displeasure over the delay in construction of the Deoghar airport, which once ready, will be the second largest airport in Jharkhand after Ranchi.

The airport in Deoghar is likely to be ready by March and flight services from there may begin in April, the transport secretary said. However, travelers to Bihar are yet to get direct flights to Patna, while there are no flights to Raipur and Bhubaneswar from Ranchi.

The passenger footfall at the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi has tripled since June, the AAI stated in December. However, the passenger footfall here was still less than half of what it used to be in pre-Covid times, local airport officials said.

The AAI stated that the passenger traffic at the Ranchi airport had dropped down to 57,749 in the month of June, when travel restrictions were relaxed after strict lockdown since March.

The passenger traffic shot up to 1,41,268 in November this year when more flights were allowed to ply, the AAI stated, lauding the airport staff here for their dedication.

The Birsa Munda Airport, which bagged the top position in Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) last year, at present has a 75 meter basic strip, which is the minimum length required for any airport.

18/02/21 Pioneer

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