Travelling to the scenic foothills of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir this summer now has a low cost option by air. Flights from Delhi to Pathankot, a district in Punjab regarded as a gateway to neighbouring hill states got operationalised under the low-cost regional connectivity scheme of the government on 05 April 2018.
Alliance Air, an arm of Air India, has launched operations with the fuel efficient turboprop aircraft that is often used in short-haul routes. The flight reduces travel time between the two cities significantly from over eight hours by road. Under the scheme, which offers incentives such as viability gap funding and relief on various charges and tax on jet fuel, the fare is capped at Rs 2,500 for a one hour journey.
Pathankot is often regarded by travellers as a stop before heading into the valleys and mountains of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. This is the 19th route operated by Alliance Air under the scheme launched in April last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Alliance Air has been a front-runner in regional connectivity and presently operates a network of 49 stations. It is in the process of adding more destinations to its regional connectivity network Over the years, air travel has become a popular mode of transport. The government is pursuing steps to scale up from about 250 million trips a year at present to a billion trips a year over the next 15-20 years.