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Delhi-Shimla flights resume with 50% seats at cheap UDAAN prices

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Shimla: In what is good news for hundreds of tourists and travellers to Shimla, Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, has resumed its regular flights between Delhi and the hill city in Himachal Pradesh.

For the first time 50 percent of the seats on these flights would have a subsidized fare of Rs 2480 only, under the ‘UDAN’ scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The fare for other seats would be determined by the airline itself.

The resumption of air connectivity on holy Navratri has brought cheers to the tourism industry, which suffered during the pandemic and also because of disruption of air services to Shimla.

The development is also significant for the incumbent BJP government, which is heading for the polls. The opposition, often has been mocking the BJP for its inability to get air connectivity resumed for Shimla– the capital of Himachal Pradesh where states like Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir were taking advantage to attract more tourists.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur flagged off the first flight of ATR-42-600 aircraft from Shimla Airport at Jubbarhatti on Monday morning.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, General V K Singh also joined the event  virtually from Delhi.

The Alliance Air flights between Shimla and Delhi would now be operated seven days a week.

The ATR-42-600 aircraft of Alliance Air would now be able to carry 48 passengers from Delhi to Shimla, whereas the maximum number of passengers from Shimla to Delhi flight would be 24.

The Chief Minister admitted resumption of air connectivity had remained a big challenge in a hill State like Himachal Pradesh.

“The state government was constantly making efforts to improve air connectivity as Himachal Pradesh has serious topographical and weather issues. The flights could not be operated at Shimla airport for almost two years due to technical reasons,” he explained.

He also reiterated his resolve to get the proposal of greenfield international airport built at Mandi for which the formalities were being completed rapidly on a priority basis.

Thakur said, “The sentiments of the people of Mandi are attached to the proposed airport and the state government is doing its best to turn the dream project into reality. The matter has already been taken-up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The airport will give biggest boost to the tourism and be of great benefits strategically”

Meanwhile, Federation of Himachal Hotel and Restaurants Associations (FOHHRA) expressing happiness over the resumption of the flights said ” There are many tourists having shortage of time with them and they miss Shimla. Now they  will get an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Shimla and its surroundings  in a short period”

Said Mohinder Seth, general secretary of the Federation ” we urge the government to ensure regular flights from Delhi to Shimla to boost tourism in Shimla Circuit. There is also an urgent need for permanent air connectivity to Kullu- Manali and Dharamsala”

A large number of tourists visit Himachal from Gujurat, Bengal and Maharashtra from the month of October till January. The flight to Shimla will be a blessing for tourists visiting Himachal from long distances.