The air re-connectivity initiative at Bathinda is uncertain since Flybig Aviation Management has not yet developed a flying schedule.
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) granted permission to a newcomer to the Indian Aviation industry to operate a 19-seater aircraft on the Bathinda-Hindon in Ghaziabad route as part of the last-mile connectivity facility in September 2022.
The service would fall under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), a National Airport connectivity programme by the Central Government.
Official sources within the AAI confirmed that Flybig has been given the go-ahead to run an air taxi service on short-haul flights or ones that last up to three hours, and it is up to them to decide when they will begin operating the service to Bathinda.
According to Ajay Sahai Jasra, Head of Corporate Relations for FlyBig, the company will add two Twin Otter aircraft to its fleet by the end of January. These aircraft would mostly be used on routes in Uttar Pradesh.
“It would be speculative to share a timeline of operations on the Hindon-Bathinda route. However, Flybig is committed towards operations on all routes awarded under UDAN.”–Ajay Sahai Jasra, Head of Corporate Relations, FlyBig
In December 2016, the Region Connectivity Scheme (RCS) allowed Alliance Air (AA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, to operate a 72-seater aircraft on the routes Delhi-Bathinda and Bathinda-Jammu.
“With fully functional institutes like the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda district had a lot of scope for growth in air connectivity, especially from Delhi or National Capital Region (NCR). We are looking forward to seeing when Flybig makes it functional as the market has potential.”–An Official in Central Aviation Dept.
Alliance Air, Bathinda’s lone air service provider, decided not to continue running its business after the agreement expired. Flights to Jammu were halted on October 27, 2019, while the airline stopped service on the Delhi route on November 28, 2020.
The Bathinda-Jammu flight was operating five days a week, excluding Tuesday and Thursday, before the flight service was suspended. On AA flights, the average occupancy percentage on the Delhi and Jammu routes stayed between 70 and 80 per cent.
Regional airline FlyBig is headquartered in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India. The airline’s primary goal since starting operations in December 2020 has been to link tier-2 cities in India. Under the UDAN programme, Flybig offers connectivity to places that were previously inaccessible by air.
It only had one ATR-72-500 when it first started flying. The trip started on December 21, 2020, and the airline wet-leased a Dash 8 Q400 from SpiceJet to complete its obligations. Its maiden flight left from Indore and travelled to Ahmedabad, taking an hour and a half in total.
Currently, FlyBig operates in Kolkata, Guwahati, Tezu, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Pasighat, Patna, and Rupsi. Flybig flies to destinations that are worth a peaceful domestic journey. The airline successfully finished its first year of operations at Tezu Airport in August 2022.
The airline is concentrating on growing its network of routes, which will greatly increase the economic potential and tourism in the local areas.