In a big boost to regional air connectivity, the first direct flight between Delhi and heritage city of Khajuraho was flagged-off on Friday (18 February).
With this, 405 routes would be operationalized under the UDAN-RCS (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik- Regional Connectivity Scheme).
The Delhi-Khajuraho-Delhi route was awarded to SpiceJet airline under the UDAN 3.0.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia flagged off the first flight on the Delhi-Khajuraho route.
The Spicejet airline will be operating flights on two days of the week – Friday and Sunday, and will deploy its Q400, 78-seater turbo prop aircraft designed for shorter distance flights on the route, the Civil Aviation ministry said in a release.
SpiceJet operates 65 daily flights under UDAN connecting 14 UDAN destinations to various parts of the country.
At present, SpiceJet services Gwalior and Jabalpur airports in Madhya Pradesh. With Khajuraho, it will be their 15th UDAN destination.
Speaking on the occasion, Scindia said, “Khajuraho is world’s pride, and it is the gateway for Madhya Pradesh’s cultural and art prowess and religious diversity, and it has a significant importance in Madhya Pradesh’s Past, Present and Future”.
The minister further emphasized “Apart from Khajuraho, we have four airports in Madhya Pradesh with Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior and Jabalpur. In the past seven months, Madhya Pradesh has seen 40 per cent increase in flights per week, amounting to 759 flights per week as on 18 February 2022″.
“Apart from that, two new FTO (Flight Training Organizations) will come up in Khajuraho which will help in training our commercial pilots. We have set our aim to construct 100 airports and 1,000 new air routes by 2024-25,” he said.
“Till now, 65 airports have been constructed, and 403 air routes are operationalized. Air Passengers also saw an increase from six crore in 2012-13 to 14.5 crore in 2021-22,” the minister added.
The Khajuraho airport was established in the year 1978 with flight services to Delhi, Agra, Varanasi. The Civil Aviation ministry has invested Rs 50 crore in Khajuraho airport and advance facilities were incorporated in the airport with installation of instrument landing system, a 1,20,000 sq ft new terminal building, night landing facility, recarpeting of runway and new ATC towers.
The flight begins couple of days before the start of the Khajuraho dance festival.
With the new direct flight, passengers from Delhi can visit Khajuraho and enjoy the historical as well as cultural heritage of the city, the ministry said.
For passenger from Khajuraho, they will now be able to easily travel to a host of cities, it added.