Uttarakhand begins work to make Dehradun International Airport, starting with flights to Kathmandu | India News

NEW DELHI: In a serious attempt to promote inbound tourism from abroadthe Uttarakhand Government has started making Dehradun one international airport. It has invited airlines to operate subsidized direct flights between the capital’s Jolly Grant Airport and Kathmandu. Sources say the Union government is backing this move to unlock India’s true potential to emerge as an international destination for foreign tourists – and not just NRIs.
While domestic traffic has reached new highs post-Covid, international traffic has yet to fully recover. The number of foreign tourists (FTA) in 2019 was around 1.1 crore. In 2022, the figure was 62 lakh and last year it rose to 92.4 lakh. The industry is considering how to not only return FTAs ​​to 2019 levels, but also exceed them. Increased direct international connectivity; more new tourist circuits and easier visas are the steps suggested by the industry to improve India’s FTAs.
“Aviation is a priority sector and will continue to receive the highest attention of the next government, which will be sworn in within the next two months. Big plans are in the works to make India a global aviation hub with its own mega airlines (IndiGo and Tata Group Air India) and major hubs. India has doubled the number of airports since 2014 and many of these airports will increasingly gain international status, allowing them to provide direct flights from nearby service countries,” say experts.
The state government’s RFP states: “In a progressive step towards international connectivity and tourism, the Government of Uttarakhand has invited proposals to establish flight operations between Kathmandu and Dehradun. By connecting the capitals of Nepal and Uttarakhand, this endeavor not only strengthens historical ties but also opens up new avenues for tourism, trade and cultural exchange.”
Willing parties will submit a bid based on financing per seat, with the state providing this financial support. There will be no cap on air fares and bidders can charge fares, depending on market factors, for the three round trips they have to operate each week. The contract period is one year, and can be extended by mutual agreement for another year, for the operation of aircraft with a minimum of 70 seats, most likely Airbus A320 or Boeing 737s. The bids will open on April 25 and the selected airline must commence this flight within 60 days of the issuance of the award letter.
Established players with a good operational track record who are looking for the lowest VGF will be awarded the route. Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami would like to see Dehradun as an international airport connected to several nearby places. A start is being made with Kathmandu because of the great mutual interest in traveling between the two places that are also connected by religious ties.