The first regular international commercial flight from Nagpur commenced operation on Sunday with the introduction of Air Arabia's Sharjah-Nagpur-Sharjah service.
Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar flagged off the inaugural flight from Nagpur to Sharjah at a ceremony at the airport in Nagpur on Sunday afternoon. Pawar also formally renamed the international airport at Nagpur as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani, Civil Aviation minister of Sharjah and chairman of Al Arabia, was among the guests.
Speaking on the occasion, Pawar said that it was appropriate that the international airport at Nagpur was being named after Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, who was not only the architect of the India's constitution, but also had the foresight and vision to ensure the country's all-round development.
It was Dr Ambedkar, as independent India's first minister for water resources, who envisioned several ambitious irrigation projects, including Bhakra-Nangal, the inter-linking of rivers in the country and the need to link the power supply networks of various states.
In his presidential address, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Prafull Patel said that the introduction of international flights from Nagpur would help boost development and employment in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
Patel reiterated that the headquarters of the cargo arm of Indian Airlines would be located at Nagpur. IA would convert 11 of its aircraft into freighters and base them all at Nagpur, he said. The cargo airline of IA was expected to commence operations by next year, he also said.
In his speech, Air Arabia chief executive officer Adel Ali expressed the hope that the Nagpur-Sharjah flight would receive a good response and its frequency would have to be increased.
Earlier, Pawar unveiled a plaque to mark the renaming of the Nagpur international airport. Airports Authority of India Chairman K Ramalingam made the introductory remarks. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R. R. Patil, Maharashtra Minister for Dairy Development Anees Ahmed and member of Parliament R S Gavai also spoke. Later, Pawar formally flagged of the special inaugural Nagpur-Sharjah flight.
The regular Nagpur-Sharjah flight will operate three days a week, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The flight will reach Nagpur at 3.20 am and leave at 4.05 am Incidentally, the first regular flight on Monday has 100% booking.
Central India News Service