Air India to resume flight services to Shimla

New Delhi: State-owned Air India is all set to resume flight services to Shimla, almost five years after the carrier discontinued operations from the hill-locked aerodrome.

A test flight to start regular services, which will be operated by the Air India’s regional arm Alliance Air, has already been carried out and the airline is now awaiting a final nod from the aviation regulator, DGCA, a source close to the development said.

The airline plans to deploy a 42-seater ATR plane to cater to the new destination, the source said.

Air India is keen to resume services to Shimla at the earliest and take the first mover advantage as the tourists flock to the Himachal Pradesh capital to beat the scorching heat of north India, the source told PTI.

Significantly, Shimla is also one of the 70 airports chosen for operating flights under the government’s regional connectivity scheme, UDAN.

“Alliance Air has already conducted the mandatory trial run of the 42-seater ATR plane yesterday under the watch of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). We are now awaiting its go-ahead,” an airline source told PTI.

According to the source, once the DGCA approval comes by, which is expected within this week, the airline will take no time in mounting a flight from Shimla airport.

The airport at Jubbarhatti, which is 22 km from Shimla and is located 2,196 metres above sea-level, was shut for scheduled flights since September 6, 2012.

“We are aiming to resume operations at the earliest as the summer rush to the Himalayan mountain town has already begun and it would put us in an advantageous position,” the source said.