BENGALURU: Even though the global aviation industry has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the smaller airports in Karnataka are showing promise. By operating smaller flights under the Civil Aviation Ministry Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN), Kalaburagi Airport appears to have bounced back from the crisis.
Kalaburagi Airport, began operations on November 22 last year. Airports Authority of India (AAI) director S Gnaneshwara Rao told TNIE, “Till June 30 this year, the airport has witnessed a total of 17,525 passengers. The passenger load ranges between 60% and 80% in each flight.” Statistics furnished by AAI reveal that though operations had come to a standstill after the first lockdown, the airport appears to be on the right track now.
“Star Air had plans to begin operations on two different routes: Kalaburagi to Hindon (near Delhi) as well as to Tirumala. However, the pandemic put their plans on hold temporarily,” Rao said. Kapil Mohan, principal secretary, State Infrastructure Development Department, was quite optimistic of the UDAN operations in Karnataka. “There is a huge demand for air transport in emerging economic hotspots. The Infrastructure department recently took steps to link far flung districts in Karnataka,” he said. Bidar Airport started operations only recently too. A top government official claimed the airport had good patronage.