Affordable air travel: New air routes from Punjab soon

CHANDIGARH, June 16: For affordable air travel, Punjab government on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of India (GoI) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) under the country’s flagship programme UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik), in the presence of Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

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The four airports of Bathinda, Ludhiana, Pathankot and Adampur have been connected under the scheme through five proposals. While Delhi-Bathinda-Delhi by Alliance Air is already operational, Delhi-Pathankot-Delhi and Delhi-Ludhiana-Delhi, also by Alliance Air, would be made operational by July 2017. In addition, Delhi-Adampur-Delhi by Spicejet will be operationalized by August 2017 and Delhi-Ludhiana-Delhi by Deccan would become operational by September 2017, the spokesperson revealed.

A spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said the tripartite agreement was signed by Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation on behalf of GoI, Tejveer Singh, Secretary Civil Aviation for Punjab Government, and G.K Chaukiyal, Executive Director for AAI. Amarinder said it would help the state explore untapped commercial potential in the border areas to create huge job opportunities for the state’s unemployed youth.

Approximately, one lakh seats would be made available to passengers under the scheme, wherein 50% i.e. 50,000 seats would be under fare cap (which is concessional fares). Requirement of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) will be shared by central government and state government in 80:20 ratio. The VGF for Punjab state (state share) would work out to Rs 3 crore (approximate) per annum.

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