Commercial operations of flights from Mysore resumed on Thursday after a brief hiatus and innumerable interruptions.
Budget carrier SpiceJet, which resumed operations, reported 40 outbound passengers on board the 78-seater Bombardier aircraft. Another 54 passengers have confirmed reservations for the outbound flight on Friday.
The resumption of flights and good occupancy rates in the initial few days augur well for the future of the airport and the airline operator who had threatened to shut down services to Mysore with effect from September 1, 2014 citing poor passenger loads. Flight services have been irregular for the last couple of months and the operations to Mysore were suspended for almost three weeks.
C. Manjunath, director, Mysore airport, told The Hindu that the flight connects Chennai to Mysore via Bangalore five days a week, barring Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The flight is scheduled to arrive at Mysore at 1.55 p.m. and will depart at 2.15 p.m. The SpiceJet service will be available till October 26. Mr. Manjunath said it was likely to be included in the winter schedule.
“If the initial trend of 50 per cent to 60 per cent occupancy rates are any indication, it will go up during Dasara and the holiday season and the passenger load factor will not be an issue for commercial flight operators,” said Mr. Manjunath.
Connect to other cities
Outbound passengers from Mysore can get connectivity to other cities at Bangalore, including to Kochi, Hyderabad, Mangalore, Belgaum, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam and New Delhi. The authorities will also hold talks with Vijayawada-based Air Costa to operate flights to Mysore. Mr. Manjunath said, “We have sought a date to hold talks with their management and we are confident of a positive outcome.”
High on the agenda
Flight connectivity is high on the agenda of industrialists and stakeholders as it is imperative to lure investments to the city, which is being projected as the second best destination in the State for business and commerce after Bangalore. Stakeholders in the city aver that the originating passenger load from business circles in Mysore alone was in the region of 600 to 900 passengers per week and this figure could increase if the tourism potential was also tapped. The city receives 3.2 million to 3.5 million tourists a year and even if a fraction of them choose to fly, the passenger traffic from the city will be high enough to be sustained and expand commercial flight operations to Mysore. In addition, the airport, which was expanded at a cost of Rs. 82 crore, receives an average of three to four chartered flights a week catering to the business community.