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Too few fliers snap air link

Jamshedpur’s flight to Calcutta is grounded again after hitting turbulent air pockets of poor passenger count and bad weather, continuing the jinx from 2007 when the city debuted on India’s air map.

Private operator Flyway Airsky Private Limited, a non-scheduled airline operator based in Jamshedpur, announced on Monday that the Monday-Saturday flight service between Jamshedpur and Calcutta was temporarily cancelled but held out hope that it might resume before Durga Puja.

The private operator had started the flight service using an 11-seater Cessna Grand Caravan 208 B from March 3 this year, charging Rs 6,999 per head for an hour-long, one-way flight to Calcutta and the same amount for the return journey.

Flyway Airsky general manager sales and customer relations Sachin Prasad conceded ticket bookings were cancelled on Sunday. “There was no flight service on Monday. We cancelled tickets from Sunday. Poor response of passengers for the past two months forced us to take this decision,” he said.

Prasad added they had been grappling with frequent change in flight schedules due to bad weather. “Too many cancellations or delays reinforced our decision to cancel flight services. But, we intend to start again from September, most probably ahead of Durga Puja, when weather conditions improve,” he added.

The flight from Jamshedpur to Delhi via Ranchi had also been cancelled due to lukewarm response, Prasad added. Steeply priced at Rs 13,000 per head, the flight took off from Sonari airport and had a stopover in Ranchi from where passengers boarded a GoAir carrier to reach Delhi as part of a deal with Flyway Airsky.

A source at Sonari airport said technically there had been no booking for the Delhi flight for the past few months while the Calcutta one barely had one or two passengers.

Passengers said fares — Rs 13,000 and Rs 6,999 for one-way trips to Delhi and Calcutta — were too exorbitant.