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Air Deccan launches Delhi-Srinagar flight

Last updated on: December 06, 2005 17:15 IST
With the inauguration of a direct flight from Delhi to Srinagar, Deccan Aviation, which operates Air Deccan, on Tuesday announced that the low-cost airline would concentrate on increasing the connectivity within Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to reporters after the first flight of Air Deccan touched Srinagar airport, State Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the airport was now handling almost 50 flights per week.

"Now we will like to see that inter-connectivity between Srinagar, Jammu and Leh increases with small aircraft landing at small airstrips like Kargil, Poonch, Kishtawar", he said.

This statement immediately evoked a prompt response from Air Deccan chairman and managing director Capt G R Gopinath, who said that he would like to venture into this area as his airline had 50-seater turbo-prop ATR aircraft, which could land at small airstrips like the one in Kargil.

He also assured a serious consideration of the Chief Minister's suggestion for connecting tourist spots like Pehalgham, Gulmarg, Sonamarg (Kashmir), Chishul and Drass (Ladakh) and Poonch and Kishtawar (Jammu) with helicopter.

With today's flight to Srinagar, Air Deccan became the airline with the largest network in the country. It is operating on 45 destinations, surpassing the figure of Jet Airways, which flies to 44 destinations, Gopinath said.

To a question as to when would the first international flight land at the Srinagar airport, Azad said we will try to boost our efforts during summer to create the necessary infrastructure and hope that by next winter, we will be ready to receive the first international flight.

The Chief Minister said the aviation sector had the weakest link to Jammu and Kashmir but now the tables have turned and we have good connectivity, which is necessary for promoting tourism in the state.

He said his government would also lay a special emphasis for next two years on creating necessary infrastructure like hotels and other things, which were important for the tourism sector.

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