Rising immigration from Uttar Pradesh to the Gulf countries has emerged as a key factor for the robust international air traffic growth in the state.
In 2017, UP had topped the list of Indian states in accounting for the maximum number of workers immigrating to the oil-rich Gulf countries.
While international air traffic grew by 8-10% in India over the last three years, UP clocked exponential growth of about 25% during the same period, air carrier Jet Airways deputy CEO and chief financial officer Amit Agarwal said here.
At the same time, the domestic air traffic from UP also posted high growth of 62% over the last three years owing to affordable air travel, greater air connectivity, growing business, leisure and religious travel.
“The aviation traffic from UP has been witnessing a strong and steady growth. We have identified UP as a key area for expansion given its huge untapped potential,” Agarwal added. He also claimed the state government had been proactively taking steps to boost air travel by ramping up infrastructure, policies and taking industry into confidence.
“UP has made good progress under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) and we are bullish on its growth potential,” he added.
To a Business Standard query, Agarwal said the spike in crude oil prices had positively impacted the Gulf air traffic in recent months. He also said Kumbh Mela in Allahabad next year would further boost air travel in UP. The Yogi Adityanath government has estimated arrival of almost 150 million pilgrims and tourists for Kumbh Mela starting January 2019 from all over the world.
Meanwhile, Jet on Thursday launched is maiden Lucknow-Allahabad-Patna flight under UDAN, a central government scheme that subsidises airfares on select routes.
Jet, which was awarded 7 routes under the RCS, would launch operations on 5 of these routes viz. Lucknow-Allahabad-Lucknow, Patna-Allahabad-Patna, Nagpur-Allahabad-Nagpur, Indore-Allahabad-Indore and Delhi-Nashik-Delhi this week. The other two 2 RCS routes connecting Lucknow, Bareilly, and Delhi would materialise once Bareilly airport is ready for civil operations.
“We have deployed 72 seater ATR aircraft to serve the RCS routes. However, depending upon the success under UDAN, we would be ready to deploy bigger planes,” Agarwal added.
Meanwhile, Jet had ordered 150 new aircraft to add to its existing fleet of 119 planes. “The delivery of new aircraft would begin from this month and continue until 2025 to serve domestic and international sectors.”
Allahabad has become the 46th domestic destination of Jet, which has completed 25 years in air travel business. It had launched UP operations from Lucknow in 1998 and today runs the second biggest operations with 144 weekly flights from/to Lucknow. Now, it operates daily flights between Lucknow and Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur and Abu Dhabi.