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India skies in need of expansion

India skies image courtesy of V V Krishnan
India skies - image courtesy of V V Krishnan

India must welcome increased air capacity in order for tourism to receive a much-need boost. To this end, a few carriers have indicated the beginning of new service. Specifically, the state of Sikkim will welcome new flights by Spice Jet and IndiGo.

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Hardly a day passes these days without some news and development on the vital aviation front, and this is just as true for the India skies. With the country’s vast area and population, the nation sure could do with an expanded presence in the sky.

Any additional air capacity has to be welcomed, especially since the revival of Jet Airways has yet to get into final shape and the Air India disinvestment has been once again delayed.

Beginning on January 23, 2021, Sikkim, a border state in the northeast of India, will be linked with a direct flight from Delhi by Spice Jet. The daily service from Delhi to Pakyong will be served by a Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

Earlier, Kolkata was linked with Sikkim but the flight was stopped in June 2019 because of logistical and infra issues. The new service fits well into plans to link more places in the northeast, which has great tourism potential. Sikkim is also in the news as China often stakes claim to the area.

In another development, budget airline IndiGo will start from February 22, 2021, with a flight from Delhi to Leh in Ladakh as part of its plan to boost services to seven routes. Connectivity, trade, and tourism will get a welcomed boost from this new service.

Sikkim forms part of the seven sisters of the northeast, along with states like Tripura, Manipur, Arunachal, and Meghalaya. India has been keen to develop the region as it has both tourism potential, infra scope, and political significance. Sikkim, earlier ruled by a Chogyal, was a protectorate till the 1970s when it was integrated into India.

Many domestic tourists make use of the Leave Travel Concession facility, an exemption for allowance/assistance received by the employee from his employer for traveling on leave, to go to the region.

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Anil Mathur - eTN India