The Asian Age on December 31 had reported about the sector being connected by the national carrier due to a demand from Sikh parliamentarians.
Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the connectivity of Nanded and Amritsar via air under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik (UDAN) scheme in Shimla recently, but top officials have confirmed that no flights to Nanded can commence before September due to the poor condition of the runway. Sources said that the runway has a big patch and other maintenance issues that would be repaired only in coming five months. The Asian Age on December 31 had reported about the sector being connected by the national carrier due to a demand from Sikh parliamentarians.
State airports in Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Solapur, Nanded and Ozar will come under the Union government’s regional connectivity scheme, popularly known as UDAN. It is aimed at making flying more affordable by connecting 45 unserved and under served airports.
According to sources, Nanded, Amritsar and Patna will not be connected in the near future, as Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Airport (Nanded airport) — which was inaugurated by the then-aviation minister Praful Patel — is not in a good enough condition for operations to take place. Some of the issues faced by the airport include a major patch on the runway, issues related to markings on the runway and Precision Approach Path Indicator (located beside the runway, it is a visual aid that provides guidance and information to help a pilot maintain the correct approach to an airport) calibration work.
Air India, which had announced it would commence a Nanded-Amritsar operations, has allotted an Airbus A320 for the sector.
Sikhism’s 10th guru Guru Gobind Singh had made Nanded his permanent abode. Air India plans to connect Nanded and Amritsar (where Golden Temple, Sikhism’s holiest shrine, is situated) with Patna, where Sikhism’s 10th guru was born. The national carrier was to start its service from mid January this year, but it has been delayed. The move is a result of the Sikh community’s desire to have a direct connection to their two holy places via air. Sikh parliamentarians had raised the point in December 2016, after which AI chipped in.