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New flight hope to nearby cities

- SpiceJet plans operations in state

Fliers from Patna could soon avail the services of low-fare airline SpiceJet.

The carrier is expected to start operating Bombardier Dash 8Q 400, a small aircraft, on shorter routes (see chart).

“SpiceJet is looking at many airports across India to expand its services. The airport in Patna is one of those. However, we cannot comment on the commencement of operations from Patna as things are at a nascent stage,” Priti Dey, the corporate communications executive of SpiceJet Limited, told The Telegraph on Wednesday.

Aviation sources confirmed the development and said SpiceJet has conducted a survey of Patna airport to start operations.

“A team of SpiceJet visited Patna airport a few months months ago and conducted a detailed survey for the expansion. The airline has made concrete plans of operating Bombardier Dash 8Q 400 from Patna airport,” an aviation expert, who is based in Calcutta, said over the phone.

“Though we have not been approached by SpiceJet yet, talks might be going on at ministry or our central headquarters levels,” said a senior official at the eastern regional office of Airports Authority of India (AAI) in Calcutta.

Sources said SpiceJet has 12 Bombardier Dash 8Q 400 aircraft in its fleet, each having a capacity of 70 to 78 passengers. Currently, the flight operates these Q400 aircraft from Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi airports.

Aviation experts said SpiceJet would have to operate with air-range restriction from Patna airport because of the kind of aircraft it has chosen.

“If SpiceJet operates Bombardier Dash 8Q 400 from Patna airport, it could fly people to places like Delhi or Calcutta but not to Mumbai or Chennai. This is because the aircraft has a flying distance range of 2,522km,” said Mirza Faizan, a Patna-based aviation scientist and chief executive officer of Bangalore-based Avembsys Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Faizan also claimed that the advent of SpiceJet in Patna could be correlated to the ongoing runway crisis at Patna airport. “If the recent notification by AAI comes into effect then bigger aircrafts won’t be able to operate from Patna airport. It is in this situation that airlines such as SpiceJet operating smaller aircraft would try to cash in on,” he said.

AAI sources, in the meantime, said the final report on obstacle removal work at Patna airport would be sent to director-general of civil aviation within a day or two.

“The final report on action taken for removal of obstacles contains 250 odd points and positive remark has been given against most of the obstacles, barring a few permanent structures,” the AAI officer said from Calcutta.