Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh got air connectivity with Delhi and Mumbai on Friday. It will be connected to Indore and Hyderabad next week. Bhavnagar in Gujarat got connected with Delhi, Surat and other cities, when a private airline launched 14 new flights on Friday. 

Over 60 smaller cities have been added to the country’s aviation map under the government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme, which was launched in 2016, with a view to enable air operations on unserved routes connecting regional areas, promote balanced regional growth and make flying affordable for masses.

Flagging off flights on Friday, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said, “Aviation, that was a distant dream for the common people, is now becoming accessible. In the last 35 days, we have commenced operations of 44 new flights in Madhya Pradesh, of which 26 aircraft movements have been attributed solely to Jabalpur.”

Budget carrier Indigo said that after Bhopal and Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior will be the third and fourth stations in Madhya Pradesh. Spicejet announced 14 new flights including 12 industry-first non-stop flights. While SpiceJet will be the first airline to connect Bhavnagar-Delhi, Bhavnagar-Surat, Gwalior-Jaipur, Kishangarh (Ajmer)-Mumbai, Pune-Tirupati and Varanasi-Dehradun, the airline will also launch a non-stop flight connecting Bhavnagar with Mumbai. A spokesperson said it is one of the major regional player operating 63 daily flights under the Regional Connectivity Scheme.

On August 12, Bareilly in UP got a flight connecting Mumbai. On March 8, it became the 56th airport to commence operations under the UDAN scheme. On August 4, the first direct flight between Imphal and Shillong was flagged off.

Ministry officials said more than 360 of a total of 780 awarded routes have started connecting smaller cities and metros. A senior official said over 100 airports and heliports are to be developed by 2024. Nine airports have been developed in 2019-20 and 26 are to be developed in 2020-21. Twenty each are to be developed in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

New cities on aviation map

 Bihar: Darbhanga
 Gujarat: Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Kandla, Mundra, Porbandar
 Karnataka: Belagavi, Hubbali, Mysuru, Vidyanagar, Kalaburgi, Bidar
 Madhya Pradesh: Gwalior, Jabalpur
 Maharashtra: Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Nanded, Ozar
 Rajasthan: Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Kishangarh
 Uttar Pradesh: Bareilly, Agra, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Hindon
 Uttarakhand: Pantnagar, Pithoragarh, Sahastradhara, Chinyalisaur, Gaucher, New Tehri
 Assam: Jorhat, Lilabari, Tezpur