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Puducherry has full-fledged airport but no flights for the past three months
Puducherry airport
Mr.G.Chandrasekar Aug 23 2023 Logistics News (Airlines & Aviation)

Puducherry has full-fledged airport but no flights for the past three months

The lone air service from Puducherry to Bengaluru and Hyderabad has been withdrawn by the budget carrier Spice jet for the past three months citing operations reasons as an alibi. Consequently, as of now, no aircraft lands or takes off at Puducherry airport.

The budget carrier withdrew the service to enable the airline to operate flights to Jeddah for Haj pilgrims. Hence, the Q400 Bombardier aircraft on the Hyderabad-Puducherry-Bengaluru route was diverted till July 2. However, even after this requirement was met, the operations has not been restored. Instead Spicejet started operating new routes elsewhere in the country.

The airline has told the Puducherry administration that they will restore the service only after they acquire new aircrafts. After being taken for a ride by the Airlines, the Puducherrry administration has approached the Union civil aviation ministry to persuade the airline to restore the service

Puducherry Civil aviation minister K Lakshminarayanan has written to the Union minister Jyotiradityascindia emphasizing the need to introduce the subsidized Udan scheme for this service. Not a single air service in Tamil Nadu or Puducherry has been given the benefit ofUddan scheme by the Union government though the scheme has been operational throughout the country..

The route was covered under the Uddan scheme till 2017. But the scheme was withdrawn by the bjp government at the center under the pretext of covid. Even after the Covid pandemic has abated, the central government is in no mood to restore the facility for Puducherry. With no viability gap funding available for the air service, the burden of loss fell on the airline operators. “In order to ensure that Puducherry remains connected by air, the Uddan scheme needs to be reintroduced, the Puducherry Minister said. Several other viable routes from Puducherry to Coimbatore and Cochin could also be explored, he said

Airline Sources said the flight occupancy on weekdays is around 80 per cent on the Puducherry Hyderabad sector and on weekends it is up to 95 per cent. However, in the Puducherry-Bengaluru sector, the occupancy is   50 per cent on weekdays and weekends.