Saturday, April 21, 2012

Frequent flyers to Delhi upset as Air India cuts down flights

TNN | Apr 22, 2012, 03.53AM IST

SURAT: Frequent flyers, especially business travellers from textile, diamond, chemical and industrial units based in Hazira, are unhappy that Air India has decided to operate its Delhi-Surat-Delhi flight for only three days a week.

Air India was the first to begin flight service between Surat and Delhi in May 2007 immediately after a new airport was inaugurated here by the civil aviation department. It has been six years since Air India has been operating flight services for six days a week.

Sources said reduction in flight operations by Air India is being seen as a negative development by many in the city, especially those connected with trade and commerce. The decision would force other flight operators planning to start their operations from Surat to think twice.

Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGhas taken up the issue with civil aviation minister Ajit Singh and has urged him to restore the six-day flight service between Surat and Delhi.

"Many airline companies are looking at Surat in a big way after the success of SpiceJet services connecting Surat with Delhi, Mumbai, Mangalore, Bangalore, Goa, etc. But the Air India's decision to reduce its flights will have a negative impact on the future of Surat's airport development," said Paresh Patel, vice-president, SGCCI.

Patel said a strong representation has been made to the civil aviation ministry and Air India management in this regard.

Nilesh Mandlewala, former president of SGCCI, said, "SpiceJet is operating successfully on Surat-Delhi-Mumbai and other routes. Air India should continue its six-day flight operations from Surat."

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