After about 29 months, ships will start flying again from August 22 between Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. The expansion work of Jubbarhatti airport adjacent to Shimla has been completed. The runway strip of the airport has been increased to 1309 metres. The procurement process of ATR 42 for the flight has also been completed. The first flight from Delhi to Shimla will arrive on 22nd August. Air services between Hills Queen Shimla and the country’s capital Delhi are closed since March 2020.
100 crores have been spent on improving the airstrip here. Earlier the runway was 1163 meters. It has been increased by 26 meters to 1189. Apart from this, a radius of 60-60 meters has been extended on both sides of the runway strip. In such a situation, the total runway strip has become 1309 meters. It has not been renewed since the lease of ATR 42 expired in the year 2020. Till February 2020, the facility of ATR 42 (500) aircraft was available. Due to the Corona crisis, the central government had banned air services. Meanwhile, Air India’s lease of Alliance Air’s ATR 42 aircraft expired.
The lease was not renewed even in 2021. Prior to March 2020, Jubbarhatti airport used to have 30 to 35 passengers in a 42-seater aircraft coming from Delhi. Due to the short take-off run for the return from Shimla, only 10 passengers were carried in the flight. This was causing loss to the airline company. The company did not show interest in running ATR 42 aircraft from Shimla after the lease expired last year. Now with the increase of runway strip, 30 to 35 passengers will be able to move between Shimla and Delhi from both the sides.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia will come from Delhi to Shimla in the first flight. The officials of the ministry have prepared the program. It is likely that Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will welcome him in Shimla.