TIRUPATI: Air Passengers travelling from Tirupati international airport will now be able to fly directly to Cochin and Pondicherry from this winter.
The Tirupati airport authorities have sent proposals to accommodate 12 additional slots for the ensuing winter season to the existing 32 summer slots. With this, the daily flight movements at the Tirupati airport are expected to reach 44 during the winter season.
The flight services to Madurai and Coimbatore, which were being operated as part of the summer schedule have been removed under the proposed winter season schedule. The winter schedule usually begins on the last Sunday of October and ends on the last Saturday of March.
Speaking to TNIE, Tirupati airport director M Rajakishore said: "The winter schedule proposals have been forwarded to DGCA and a positive outcome is expected to come in the next few days from the concerned authorities over accommodating the new slots at Tirupati airport."
"The arrivals and departures will be increased to 44, Given that DGCA approves the proposed winter schedule programme," Rajkishore said. He said that Spicejet would be operating the Pondicherry service, while Indigo would operate the Cochin service. The two new services would be the ATR flights with 72-seater capacity.
The airport director told TNIE that besides connecting the two new cities more services would be operated on the Hyderabad route, which has a high demand. Asked about the frequency of the flights to be launched during the winter schedule, Rajkishore said it is too early to comment on that without getting approvals from DGCA. "DGCA is the competent authority which allows the slots. However, it is expected that the new flights would be operated for at least four days a week."
Currently, direct flights are operated to Hyderabad, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Gulbarga, Bangalore, Kolhapur, Shirdi, Pune, Belgaum, Vijayawada and Delhi cities from Tirupati airport.
Domestic Passenger To Go Up:
Rajkishore informed that once the approval for the additional slots comes, the passenger traffic at Tirupati would zoom past the current 2,500 to 3,500. According to AAI statistics, the domestic passenger traffic at Tirupati airport for August month stood at 78,902 showing a 29.6 percent rise compared to the corresponding period of 60,876.