The fast-growing Kalaburagi Airport has completed one year of service. It all started a year ago when the long-pending dream of the people of Kalyana Karnataka region of having an airport in Kalaburagi was realised with Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa inaugurating the service with full capacity operation at the Greenfield airport on the outskirts of the city on November 22, 2019.
Assistant General Manager (CNS), Airports Authority of India, Kalaburagi, Karnataka, K.J. Vinod, speaking to The Hindu said that as many as 1,042 flight schedules ferried 42,076 passengers from Kalaburagi airport during the year (till November 21).
The highest number of passengers flew out of the airport in October (5,828), followed by September (5,541) and August (5,128). Domestic flights were suspended from the month of April to May 25. Mr. Vinod said that after domestic flights resumed services on May 25, 391 passengers flew out of the airport in the first five days (May 25–May 30).
Of the total 42,076 passengers who flew out of the airport, 25,000 travellers (60 %) benefited under the Centre’s ambitious UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik)-Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). Under the UDAN scheme, the travel fare is capped to ₹ 2,500 with an effort to facilitate the common man to fly.
At present, two airlines, Star Air and Alliance Air, operate between Kalaburagi and Bengaluru every day. Last week, Star Air also started its new Kalaburagi-Delhi flight, which operates three days a week. Replying to a query, Mr. Vinod said that to-and-fro flights between Kalaburagi and Tirupati and Kalaburagi and Mumbai are expected to start operations by January 2021. “Initially, the occupancy rate was sparse with just 30 %-40 % passengers using the services. However, it gradually increased and now the occupancy rate on both flights is 80 %. The response from passengers has been remarkable and flights have been booked in advance,” says Assistant Manage (AAI), Kalaburagi Airport, Piyush Chakravarthy.
President of the Kalyana Karnataka Ghruhakara Vedike Sunil Kulkarni has said that the airport has proved to be one of the fastest growing airports. In less than a year, the airport has shown how tier-2 cities can achieve growth if such facilities are provided.