The airport has been consistently incurring losses and it seems there is no road map

Single flight with sometimes just a passenger- The Mysuru airport thats just not taking offImage: Mysore airport by
news Thursday, October 08, 2015 - 17:29

On September 4, a 48-seater plane had only one passenger travelling from Bengaluru to Mysuru on a trip which takes 45 minutes and costs Rs.2800. 

For five years, the government has worked on Mysuru-Bengaluru air connectivity, but it has failed to keep the service alive.

There have not been many takers for Alliance Air, which is an exclusive air service started by Air India in September, connecting Mysuru’s Mandakalli airport and Bengaluru’s Kempegowda airport. Operating six days a week, it has been witnessing poor passenger traffic since its inception. On September 9, the flight had four passengers.

Kempegowda international airport cancelled the service on September 29.

However, Karnataka tourism minister R V Deshpande and Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha, have been pushing to revive the service every time it was called off.

Karnataka tourism minister, RV Deshpande said,"Connectivity is very important for anything to grow."

"Mysuru is an important tourist destination in Karnataka. Cultural tourism and heritage tourism, wildlife- you name it, it has the potential. It is growing as an education capital and an industry capital too,"he said.

"Tourists from other places fly to Goa, but they don't want to come to Mysuru because of lack of air connectivity," he added

Upgraded in 2010, but just one flight to and from Bengaluru in this airport

Mandakalli airport was upgraded by Airports Authority of India at an estimated cost of Rs. 82 crore in 2010, but has been served by a solitary airline, with a flight to and from Bengaluru, at any given point. “Since the upgradation, Airports Authority of India suffered a loss of 11.6 crore,” Manoj Kumar Singh, Director of Mysore airport told The News Minute.

Kingfisher airlines initiated its service in October 2010 and folded its operations in November 2011.

Spice jet, which launched flight service between the cities in January 2013, withdrew after 22 months, in October 2014.  

The commercial airlines wanted to stop service in September 2014, but after being asked by the state government, extended their operations till Dasara.

There had been frequent suspension of operations a few months before they stopped services. The airlines cited poor load factor as one of the reasons for cancellation of services. 

Manoj Kumar Singh says passenger traffic is better from Mysuru to Bengaluru is better, “At least 10 passengers take the flight every day.”

Air connectivity is high on the agenda of stakeholders such as industrialists, traders, entrepreneurs and those in the tourism and hospitality sector as its absence, according to them, will affect investment. 

Alliance air flight timings are not suitable

According to the minister, it is the inconvenient flight timing that is discouraging passengers further.

Deshpande said, "A 6 am flight is not seeming convenient for people. I have issued a letter to union minister Mahesh Sharma, to civil aviation ministry asking them to change the timings asking them to change the timings."

Civil aviation ministry responded saying that they are examining the issue.

Sharma said that the government would definitely do it after some time. 

"Flights from Mysuru connecting to cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa via Bengaluru is what our next goal," he said. 

Despite the minister's stance that things will brighten up if flight timings are changed, the reality is that for the last five years, all authorities have failed to extend the sector beyond a solitary flight to Bengaluru, a city that is just 150 km away. The airport has been consistently incurring losses and it seems there is no road map that could change the scenario anytime soon.