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Deccan clips wings

Ranchi/Raipur, Feb. 17: The existing Air Deccan flights connecting Raipur with Ranchi and Bhubaneswar will be grounded next month.

While the last flight from Raipur to the Jharkhand capital (DN 574) will be available on March 25, the last to the Orissa capital (DN 735) will fly on March 24.

However, the low-cost airline will start airbus service on Raipur-Mumbai-Ahmedabad-Mumbai-Raipur (DN 705) and Delhi-Raipur-Calcutta-Raipur-Delhi (DN 624) sectors from March 26.

On the other hand, Air Deccan Ranchi station manager Krishna Yadav said the no-frills airline would start 180-seat airbus services to Raipur, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar from next month. However, he could not specify the date when the service would start. Besides, the demand for the existing Calcutta-Ranchi-Raipur sector has prompted Air Deccan to start a dedicated 48-seat ATR only between Calcutta and Ranchi in the last week of next month.

While Yadav said there was a “great demand” on the Calcutta-Ranchi-Raipur sector, tour operators indicate that the Ranchi-Raipur flight has witnessed total occupancy only for a few times. “Air Deccan was not finding it viable to operate on both the routes — Raipur-Ranchi and Raipur-Bhubaneswar — forcing the company to consider terminating air links to both the state capitals from here,” Kirti Vyas of a travel agency in Raipur told The Telegraph.

The Air Deccan had started morning and evening flights from Calcutta to Raipur via Ranchi in the last quarter of 2005, but the evening flight to Raipur was cancelled after a few months when the aviation company decided to fly only between Calcutta and Ranchi.

Meanwhile, Yadav said the nitty-gritty of linking Ranchi with Bhubaneswar had also been finalised with the eastern region head visiting the two cities three days ago.

The dates of the new flights will be announced within a week, he added.

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