Poor response may leave Mysuru without air service

Poor response may leave Mysuru without air service

Air service to Mysuru may be suspended after the Dasara season if the schedule of the lone flight is not changed, authorities at the airport here fear. The service to Bengaluru was launched on September 3 after a gap of nearly 10 months.

The occupancy rate for the Alliance Air flight to Bengaluru is picking up but the same is not the case with the return service, said Manoj Kumar Singh, the director of Mysuru Airport.

When the flight from Bengaluru landed here at 6.40 am on October 6, there were just two passengers besides five crew members. The response for the Bengaluru-Mysuru flight is so poor the occupancy hasn’t touched the two-digit mark as yet.

On September 4, there was just one passenger, whereas the aircraft can accommodate 48 fliers. Passengers cite inconvenient timings and high fare as main deterrents.

Shashikiran, who works at the Mysuru campus of Infosys, said that if one had to catch the 6 am flight to Mysuru at the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, they had to reach the airport at 5 am. “One has to wake up at 3 am to reach the airport, which is 30 km from Bengaluru city centre. If one travels by car, train or bus from Bengaluru to Mysuru, one can choose one’s time and travel leisurely in about three hours,” he added.

Travel agents, too, have been demanding a change in the flight schedule, besides a reduction in the fare to attract more passengers. Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, charges Rs 2,800 per passenger. In order to sustain the service till the occupancy rate goes up, the Tourism Department has been paying Rs 9.5 lakh to Air India to compensate for the losses.

The airport director said the average occupancy rate in September was just 20 per cent. As passengers complain about inconvenient schedule, the matter has been taken up with Air India authorities, he added. Since the relaunch, just one foreign passenger has used the service, he said, suspecting the fee charged on luggage above 15 kg to be the main deterrent.

“Foreign tourists usually carry heavy luggage that should last for their entire stay in India. So, instead of paying extra for the luggage to travel by air, they prefer to travel by taxi,” he said. 

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