Flights to Patna, Barbil on radar
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- Published 21.07.12
|The office of Northeast Shuttles in Sonari. Picture by Bhola Prasad|
Jamshedpur is all set to get a pair of wings each to Odisha’s Barbil and Patna in Bihar.
Bangalore-based DTDS Travel and Tour Planners Private Limited, which operates three flights between Calcutta and Jamshedpur, will spread its wings later this fiscal. The airline, which set foot in the steel city in January this year, had also introduced a flight to Bhubaneswar in May, but the service was soon withdrawn as there were not enough passengers.
Although the three scheduled flights to Calcutta have good occupancy, DTDS, which runs the operation in alliance with Spirit Air, aims to add to the destinations.
“We are exploring the opportunities. The flight from Jamshedpur to Calcutta is doing well and hence, we want to expand our business. We have not finalised the details, but the new flights will be definitely introduced by this year. We also might plan to start catering to the Northeast because there are ample number of smaller airports,” said Shyamal Chakraborty, sales manager, DTDS Travel and Tour Planners Private Limited.
On the earlier attempt to reach out to Odisha, Chakraborty said: “Although we tried to connect Jamshedpur with Bhubaneswar through air, the service had to be withdrawn after a few days as there was no passenger. As for Barbil, we will be targeting corporate passengers. However, we cannot divulge too many details as everything is at a nascent stage at the moment,” he added.
The airline may have Tata Steel on its mind, which has mines in Joda, about 20km from Barbil. Corporate executives frequently visit the area.
While DTDS is planning to cover other destinations, NorthEast Shuttles — the Calcutta-based charter air service company that started its Calcutta-Jamshedpur operations in February — reduced the frequency of its flights from this week.
The flight, which operated once a day for six days except Sunday, will now be available only on Mondays and Fridays. Officials cited aircraft maintenance and technical snags to explain the decision. NorthEast Shuttles uses an 18-seater Dornier 228 and hence, occupancy is also a problem.
“Both our aircraft developed snags at the same time. Thus, the schedule went haywire and services came to a standstill at times. Thus, we decided to lessen the pressure and operate only twice a week,” said Rajiv Kumar, an executive of NorthEast Shuttles in Jamshedpur.
The flight leaves Calcutta at 9.15am and arrives here at 10.15am. It takes off for Calcutta at 10.30am.