Indian company Religare Aviation is hoping to launch domestic flights from Dharamsala -Kangra Airport in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh before the end of the first quarter of 2012, according to local media reports. The company has been looking to expand further into the scheduled passenger market in north-eastern India for the past couple of years after applying for the necessary licences from the civil aviation ministry and the air safety regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) through its Religare Voyages subsidiary.
The small regional facility, also known as Gaggal Airport, is currently served by Kingfisher Airlines from New Delhi, but despite the lack of air connectivity in the area, demand is growing, particularly in the leisure sector as more international tourists visit the region, home to the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, and the exiled Tibetan government.
Religare Aviation is understood to be planning links to Chandigarh and Amritsar using small turboprop equipment. An estimated 16,000 O&D passengers travelled on Kingfisher’s daily ATR turboprop link to New Delhi in the past year, with average one way fares of $58. This represents a 36.1 per cent increase in traffic when compared with the previous 12 month period.