PUNE: The first flight under UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) service between Nashik and Pune by the Air Deccan has been withdrawn due to non-availability of proper slots for the airline. However, officials could not confirm whether the service provided by the airline would resume or not.
The service was started in December 2017 and has been suspended since March. Sources from the airline said, “The Defence Ministry had given us landing rights at the Pune airport only for three months, which expired in February, following which our services on the Pune-Nashik route have been suspended for nearly two months. The Pune and Nashik airports are within the Defence Ministry jurisdiction.”
The service can resume only after getting new slots at the Pune airport, the source said, adding that the issue has been taken up with the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Earlier, an official source from the airline said, “The operation of the flight is suspended due to rescheduling and there are new schedules coming. Soon, the operation would be resumed.” However, sources at the Pune airport said the flight was not getting a good response from passengers.
Air Deccan had delayed its operations by almost three months after winning the connectivity bids under UDAN. Finally, it started operations from December 22, 2017. For the first phase of the scheme, Air Deccan won the bid to start flight operations from the Ozar (Nashik), Kolhapur, Jalgaon and Solapur airports. Sources said flights connecting Mumbai to Nashik and Mumbai to Jalgaon are also set to start operations from December 23, 2018.
An official from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency for UDAN, confirmed that an adequate number of slots are not available at the Pune airport.