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Airline operators look to increase number of flights to Patna in March

Posted : 15 January 2018 04:04:16 | By TWO Bureau | TWO Bureau

Airline operators look to increase number of flights to Patna in March

Grappling with space constraint to cater to 26 departures, the Jayprakash Narayan International (JPNI) Airport will almost double the number of flights, which operate Patna. It is likely to host 49 daily flight departures on weekdays and 51 on Sunday, in a staggered manner, between March 25 and July 1.  Of these, two flights — one of Jet Airways to Indore, proposed from July 1, and another of Goair to Chandigarh (from May 6) — are once a week. IndiGo is likely to commence a daily direct flight to Guwahati, the capital of Assam, from March 25, while Goair proposes to connect Ahmedabad with Patna from May 1.  In increasing the number of flights, Patnaites will get direct air connectivity with Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Indore and Guwahati. 
At present, Patna has direct air connectivity with Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Bhopal. The flight to Bhopal, however, has been temporarily suspended and will resume on February 1.  Almost all airlines operating here have proposed to increase the number of flights. Indigo, which has 10 scheduled departures daily in the ongoing winter schedule, effective December 1, has proposed to more than double its flights to 21 from Patna.  Goair, which has six departures, has proposed to increase its daily scheduled flights to 12.  Jet Airways, which has three departures now, has proposed to hike its flights to five daily departures on weekdays and seven on Sunday.  Air India, which has three departures, proposes to double its flights to Patna, with the last aircraft of the day reaching here from Ranchi at 11.05pm. The aircraft will make a night halt and leave here the next morning at 7am.  
Spicejet, which has four daily departures now, has proposed to introduce an additional flight in summer.  Sources said the Airports Authority of India (AAI), after suggesting some modifications in flight timings, gave its consent to the increase in flights from Patna. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation will now communicate with the airlines concerned, before they formally notify it.  From having 13 daily scheduled departures, with a passenger footfall of 10,03,169 in 2012-13, aircraft departures steadily grew to 21, registering a passenger footfall of 21,12,150 in 2016-17. It peaked last November, when Patna airport recorded 36 daily flight departures. Following passenger chaos on November 10, when 14 flights had to be diverted and one was cancelled due to bad weather as well as shortage of parking bay, the AAI finally realised that the number of flights was too much for comfort.  
Despite almost a three-fold increase in the number of aircraft and passenger footfall doubling since 2012-13, there has been literally no addition to airport infrastructure ever since its inception in 1973, leading to severe congestion.  
The AAI was also in the process of restructuring existing utilities and creating additional space on the first floor of the SHA(Security Hold Area) near the Chanakya executive lounge. The fifth boarding gate will then become operational from there, said Rajender Singh Lahauria, Air Port, Director.  These contingency measures are being taken up in addition to the AAI plan of constructing a INR 800-crore new two-storied state-of-the-art terminal building, with an annual passenger handling capacity of 4.5 million as against  0.7 million.  The construction work at the Patna airport is expected to commence from April. The work will be completed in three years. In addition, a new civil enclave, to handle 5 million passengers annually, is also coming up at the Bihta Air Force station, 20 kms away from Patna.  
For those having already faced passenger congestion at the Patna airport, with barely any circulation space during peak hours, one good thing, however, is that the airport will be operational round-the-clock, beginning March 25, when the number of flights is expected to go up to 49. At present, scheduled flights operate for less than 12 hours at the Patna airport, even as the Air Traffic Control watch hour is for 12 hours, beginning from 9.30am. Given the increase in number of flights and passengers, Patna, the 16th busiest airport in India, will only get busier.

Tags : #Airline, # operators, # look, # increase, # number, # flights, # Patna,

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