Pondicherry to Chennai – Rs.1,500
Pondicherry to Bangalore – Rs.2,400
Pondicherry to Tirupati – Rs.2,400
Jagson Airlines, a Delhi-based private operator, has come forward to operate flights to Chennai, Bangalore and Tirupati sector and back.
An 18-seater Dornier 228 aircraft is being flown to Pondicherry on Sunday, which would be used for flight operation to all the three destinations, Vinod Malhotra, General Manager (Marketing) and Business Head of Jagson Airlines, told this website’s newspaper.
“We would be operating the flights to all the three destinations daily but confine it to six days a week. There would be no flights on Sunday which would be kept for maintenance of the aircraft. A maintenance unit under H R Sharma, Maintenance Engineer, has been set up to keep the aircraft in good condition,” he said.
The ground clearance from Bangalore and Tirupati has been given but the landing rights from Chennai Airport are awaited. The operator is expecting to get the clearance in the next couple of days.
“As far as Pondicherry airport is concerned, we have received all the clearances from the DGCA and we are ready to operate the flights from June 7,” said Malhotra.
The government has assured guarantee for the sale of 50 percent of the tickets (nine seats) as per the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Jagson Airlines with the Government of Pondicherry earlier.
The Pondicherry Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) would sell nine tickets on behalf of the government, while the tickets for the remaining seats would be sold by the travel agent, Bon Jour Bon Heur Travels.
“Once the green signal is given by the operator, the sale of tickets would begin,” said Abhimookh Patel, Head of Bon Jour Bon Heur Travels.
The airport has been made ready by upgrading and modifying the facilities as per the directions given by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
A team comprising Regional Controller of Air Safety Bir Singh Rai and Regional Deputy Commissioner, Civil Aviation Security, P Gauri Shankar, after assessing the facilities at the airport on February 24, issued the directions.
According to officials of the Airport Authority of India (AAI), the airport already had the logistic support machinery and the 4,000 feet runway was in good shape and did not require any re-laying or repairs.
The airport has been handling trainer aircraft from Orient Flight School and NCC and occasionally some chartered flights.
The Territorial Administration has agreed to provide the manpower required for airport security.
The aircraft security has however, been arranged by the airline operator.
Separate counters for Chennai, Bangalore and Tirupati have been put up by the operator. The airport is now ready after the completion of the work last month.
However, there are still some problems as the airport is manned only up to 1 pm. Since three flights are being operated, the schedules are tight.
“If the flights get delayed beyond 1 pm, the operator has to pay an additional amount to the AAI for extended services,” said Malhotra.
Moreover, there was no night landing facilities.
The other drawback is that Pondicherry does not have refuelling facilities and the operator was dependent on Chennai or Bangalore for refuelling. “We have requested oil companies like Indian Oil and others to open a unit here,” said Malhotra.
COURTESY - INDIAN EXPRESS - June 4TH