Andaman wants airlines to stick to flying schedule
New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Concerned over air-connectivity from Port Blair to mainland cities, Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) administration has urged the Civil Aviation Ministry to direct domestic carriers to stick to the approved flying schedule.
The appeal follows flight frequency going down in the month of June after GoAir, IndiGo and Vistara stopped a few of their flights.
While GoAir stopped its Bangalore-Port Blair flight after June 14 this year, Vistara also stopped one of its flights to Port Blair in the same month.
"We do not operate our BLR (Bangalore)-IXZ (Port Blair)-BLR flight from 15th June to 15th September as demand is low during monsoon. Also our BOM (Mumbai)-IXZ-BOM is a winter product. It will start operations from 1st October to end of March," a GoAir spokesperson said.
"Our flights from MAA (Chennai) and CCU (Kolkata) to IXZ operate year-round all 365 days and there has been no reduction in the same as well," he noted, adding the carrier had not pulled out any flight.
According to official sources, the largest private carrier IndiGo stopped operations of three of its flights to Port Blair from Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad starting June.
Depending on demand, airlines at times take regulatory approval for operating flights only for peak months and do not operate flights all through the flying season. Approvals for scheduled flights are granted separately for summer and winter schedules.
In a video-conferencing with Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on August 19, the Andaman administration had raised the issue of connectivity and sought direction from the Ministry for airlines to stick to their schedule. It also raised the issue of exorbitant fares in the range of Rs 15,000-25,000 for flights to Port Blair.
"Even Air India charges very high fare along with other private carriers. Given that air-connectivity is the primary means of transportation for local people going to mainland for medical treatment and other emergency needs, the administration has asked the Ministry to rein in airlines charging exorbitant fares," an official said.
The Andaman administration in the meantime wants flag carrier Air India to start direct flight from Port Blair to Bangkok starting October 1, 2019 in the Winter schedule.
Counted earlier among the far-flung places requiring special attention to provide air-connectivity, Port Blair has emerged as one of the popular tourist destinations in the last few years. Almost all the scheduled carriers fly to Port Blair riding on high seasonal demand.