Darbhanga airport open for bidding by other airlines, fare set to dip

As the 3-year agreement of Spicejet with Airports Authority of India to operate from Darbhanga under Udan scheme has ended, other airline companies may bid for running their flights from there

Darbhanga Airport

Patna: Airfare to Darbhanga from various destinations may come down in coming months. The three-year agreement of SpiceJet with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) of being sole operator for Darbhanga airport from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru has ended on November 8. This will allow other airline company to include Darbhanga in their flying destination.

A senior officer of the AAI said that SpiceJet had the monopoly to operate on the route, as it had launched its operation from Darbhanga, which emerged as one of the most successful airports opened under Udan scheme in the country, on November 8, 2020. The airline company also used to get tax rebate from the government as per the agreement.

Also Read: Costly tickets, lack of facilities hit footfall at Darbhanga airport

“Now Darbhanga airport has been released for other airlines to operate, as the AAI declined extending the agreement, other operators may also bid for launching their service from there. Airfare for Darbhanga from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru used to be very high for want of competition on the route,” said another AAI officer, adding that Darbhanga was the only operational airport after Patna in Bihar.

Notably, more than 17 lakh passengers have travelled to and from Darbhanga airport since it was opened three years ago. However, the airport has often been in the news for high fares as compared to Patna. Sometimes, especially during the festive period, travelling to Dubai cost lesser than travelling to Darbhanga from Delhi or Mumbai. People have raised the issue of exorbitantly high fares.

Also Read: Airfare of Dubai costs half of Darbhanga-Delhi flight: Bihar minister

Recently, Bihar’s water resources minister Sanjay Kumar Jha had also questioned the logic for such high fares for Darbhanga and appealed to the Union minister for civil aviation Jyotiraditya M Scindia to step in and make the airline company to reduce the fare. And it bore results, as tariff has substantially come down, much to the relief for people of Mithilanchal and the residents of Nepal.

Being centrally located in North Bihar, Darbhanga was the most sought after route for air travellers, who wished to go to north Bihar districts of Nepal. In keeping with growing rush of passengers, the state government had transferred additional land to the AAI for building spacial terminal building at the airport. A senior officer of the AAI said that the competitive tariff would benefit the travellers once other airlines evinced their interest to operate flights from there.

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