Full Service Carrier Vistara announced the launch of Amritsar and Leh to its network effective March 2017. The TATA-SIA Joint Venture, which will celebrate two years of operations next week has a fleet of 13 Airbus A320 with 7 A320neo on order, delivery of which is expected to start from April’17. The airline which has been struggling with lower load factors as compared to competition flies to 18 destinations at present.
The airline will suspend operations to Varanasi from 1st March. Varanasi was the 12th destination for the airline and was launched in October 2015. Flights to Amritsar will be operational from 1st March, while Leh will be its 19th destination effective 25th March.
Amritsar is the 37th most populous city in the country and second in Punjab behind Ludhiana which does not have an operational airport. Sri Guru Ram Das Jee airport Amritsar is named after the 4th Sikh guru Sri Ram Das who is also the founder of Amritsar. The airport was recently upgraded to Cat III.
The airport had seen a growth of 15.9% in 2015-16 over the previous year as per the data released by Airports Authority of India. The airport saw a growth of 6.9% Year on Year (YoY) in 2015-16 and carried 357,385 international passengers, while the YoY growth was 19.2% for domestic 892,985 domestic passengers, mainly to Delhi.
Currently, Air India operates daily services to Birmingham via Delhi and Air India express operates to Dubai. Amritsar is connected to Doha, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ashgabad and Tashkent. On the domestic front, Spicejet connects Amritsar to Mumbai and Delhi, while Jet Airways and Air India have flights between Delhi and Amritsar. Amritsar sees a lot of tourism from Sikhs who visit the holy Golden Temple. Air India had recently announced weekend flights on this route.
As the airline signs more Interline agreements, Amritsar would be a focal point for the connecting traffic.
Vistara will launch operations to Leh from Delhi effective 25th March 2017 with weekend operations and operate daily effective 10th May 2017. Leh is a critical airfield with limited operating window due to the terrain around the airport and enroute weather. Air India, Jet Airways and Go Air operate to Leh, with Go Air operating non-stop flights from Mumbai last summer.
Flights to Amritsar will operate as below
UK957 DEL1320 – 1435ATQ x1 eff 01Mar2017
UK958 ATQ1515 – 1630DEL x1 eff 01Mar2017
UK735 BOM1325 – 1550ATQ x1 eff 08Mar2017
UK736 ATQ1625 – 1845BOM x1 eff 08Mar2017