Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, and Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, VK Singh, inaugurated IndiGo’s direct daily flight from Delhi to Dharamshala on March 26. This is the 78th addition to IndiGo’s domestic flight network.
Scindia mentioned that the ministry is working on a two-phased plan to expand the airport at Dharamshala. In the first phase, the runway will be extended to 1900 metres to accommodate turboprop aircraft arriving with load penalty to operate without such penalties. The runway will further be lengthened to 3100 metres to enable Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 to land safely.
Currently, passengers from across the nation have to come to Delhi to board a flight to Himachal. The Dharamshala airport connects five surrounding districts and serves half the state’s population. The new IndiGo flight will connect half of Himachal and parts of Punjab to the rest of the nation, thus offering seamless connectivity to the city.
Kapoor requested the Civil Aviation Ministry to further increase the number of flights to Himachal, a buzzing tourist spot that suffered a terrible decline during the pandemic. Regarding other state airports, Scindia mentioned that Shimla’s runway restoration is complete, and site clearance has been granted for Mandi’s greenfield airport.
Himachal has been offered 44 routes under the UDAN scheme, of which 22 are currently operational. Dharamshala’s aircraft movement has increased from 28 weekly in 2013 to 14 to 50 today. The Delhi-Dharamshala direct flights will connect Himachal Pradesh to the rest of the country and many international destinations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.