GoAir plays big role to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with rest of India

This marks a new beginning for the Indian aviation industry, bringing much-need cheer in the dark days of Covid

GoAir plays big role to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with rest of India
The GoAir A320Neo that operated the night flight from Srinagar to Delhi. Image courtesy: Twitter/@goairlinesindia

GoAir has been getting bad press for some time over various reasons from faulty engines and the delay in replacing them, to operational negligence and customer complaints, but it has finally achieved something that it can boast about. 

The budget carrier on March 19 became the first airline in India to offer night services from Srinagar with the launch of a daily flight to Delhi, PTI reported. Significantly, GoAir was also the first carrier to operate morning flights to-and-from Srinagar. A scheduled GoAir flight would now operate every day at 8.30 pm, the airline said in a statement. 

This marks a new beginning for the Indian aviation industry, bringing much-need cheer when airlines across the world and GoAir in particular have been severely battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. With this, there would now be improved connectivity to Jammu and Kashmir and Leh from several airports in the country, resulting in the integration of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir more closely with the rest of the country in line with the broader plan of the government set in motion two years ago. 

This GoAir service is being seen as a boon for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and also tourists, offering them high mobility and freedom to plan their travel, with day-return connectivity to the major airports of the country like Delhi and Mumbai. 

Also read -- GoAir's woes: After scary planes and refund issues, now flyers carried in cargo aircraft?

The GoAir flight G8-7007 operating an Airbus A320Neo took off from Srinagar at 7.35 pm and landed in Delhi at 8.43 pm on March 19, according to the flight-tracking website Flightradar24. 

"It gives me immense pleasure to dedicate the first-ever night flight from Srinagar to Delhi as a salute to the spirit of Srinagar. GoAir is also strengthening the network across the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh region by enhancing their daily flights to-and-from Srinagar," said Kaushik Khona, Chief Executive Officer, GoAir. 

Khona pointed out that the airline had undertaken numerous other efforts for the development of Jammu and Kashmir. For instance, GoAir was the only airline in the country to operate daily flights from the Awantipur Air Force Station when the main airport was shut down for a long time on account of resurfacing of the runway. At that time, GoAir was the sole Indian carrier to link Srinagar with the other parts of the country. 

Also read: IndiGo gets rid of A320 Neo ghost, GoAir planes continue to be scary

According to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) data, GoAir carried 6.34 lakh passengers in January 2021 and 5.81 lakh passengers in February 2021, giving it a domestic market share of 8.2% and 7.4% respectively. It stood at fourth position in terms of market share among the Indian airlines in both these months.

GoAir had an on-time performance of 78.4% at four metro airports (Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad) in February. Its cancellation rate was lowest among Indian carriers and it had a passenger load factor of 76.5% in February. Passenger load factor refers to the percentage of available seating capacity of a plane that is filled.

In January this year, the low-cost carrier had announced the sale of one million tickets at fares starting at Rs 859 to woo travellers, The Economic Times had reported.