Three flights that were to be launched under the regional air connectivity scheme, UDAN, in Rajasthan from April are yet to take off with the airport authorities and the private airlines failing to resolve their differences.
The Kota-New Delhi flight, launched with fanfare on April 11, was suspended after a couple of days of operations with the airport officials in Kota claiming that the airline had not obtained mandatory clearances.
As a result of grounding of the Kota flight, the flight from tourist hub Sawai Madhopur is also not operating, and the Kishangarh flight is yet to be launched. The private airline that was to operate the flights has said the route was the same and they are expected to be launched in about a week.
“We had started Kota-Delhi flight, but it has been grounded by officials for reasons that defy logic. We will be launching flights from Kishangarh and Sawai Madhopur in about a week. There are also plans to launch flights from Sri Ganganagar,” Supreme Aviation vice-president Aakash Agrawal said.
Passengers in Jodhpur also face a problem as the airport is not equipped for flight operations at night, so any delay in the evening flight, which is scheduled to arrive at 5.15 pm, leads to its diversion to Jaipur.
Another private airline, Zoom Air, which was to launch flights from Barmer to New Delhi, is yet to start operations. As of now, private airlines are operating flights from Jodhpur, Udaipur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer to New Delhi.
The Rajasthan government has ambitious plans to start aviation services connecting all major heritage properties, forts and palaces, which means air connectivity from all the districts.
The desert state is working on plans to upgrade the existing airstrips to boost air connectivity. These include strengthening, extension and licensing of state-owned airstrips to make them compatible for regular commercial flight operations.
UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) seeks to connect unserved and underserved airports in the country. Rajasthan has 18 state-owned airfields apart from airports owned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), defence airfields and private airstrips.