New Delhi: Miffed over withdrawal of flights by GoAir, IndiGo and Vistara to and from Port Blair, the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) administration has asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to direct the erring carriers to stick to the schedule. With peak October-March flying season approaching, the A&N has also flagged the issue of exorbitant airfares charged by the airlines on flights between Port Blair and mainland cities.
Complaining about the connectivity issues in a video-conferencing with Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, the island administration said that domestic airlines charge fares in the range of Rs 15,000-25,000 for flights to Port Blair."Even Air India charges very high fare along with other private carriers. Given that air-connectivity is the primary means of transport to the mainland for medical treatment and other emergency needs, the administration has asked the ministry to rein in airlines charging exorbitant fares," an official said.
Sources said that while Go Air pulled out its flight in June from Ahmedabad-Bangalore-Port Blair-Ahmedabad route, full-service carrier Vistara withdrew its flight from Chennai-Port Blair-Chennai sector effective June 16. The largest private carrier has pulled out its flight from as many as three cities connecting Port Blair affecting the connectivity with the Union Territory ((UT).
"IndiGo withdrew its flight from Kolkata, Hyderabad and Beangaluru to Port Blair in June. Withdrawal of so many flights has negative impact on connectivity. Ministry should direct airlines to stick to the approved schedule," an A&N official said. The administration has, meanwhile, urged flag carrier Air India to start direct flight from Port Blair to Bangkok starting October 1.
Counted earlier among the far-flung places requiring special attention to provide air-connectivity, Port Blair has emerged as one of the popular tourist destinations in the last few years. Almost all the scheduled carriers fly to Port Blair riding on high seasonal demand.