AGARTALA: The importance of Northeast in the country’s civil aviation map has been reduced following an amendment of the Route Dispersal Policy that used to guide the flying schedule of the airliners.
The Route Dispersal Policy formulated in 1994 had made it mandatory that all the airlines will be liable to operate ten per cent of their services in Northeast region and Jammu & Kashmir. The Civil Aviation Ministry has amended this policy in 2016 when their liability was reduced to six per cent. In addition the policy added three more states in this mandatory list. These are Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Kochi in Kerala. This has hampered the interest of the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir from two sides. It reduced the share of services and faded their right further by including three more shareholders. Taking advantage of this amendment the airlines companies are gradually reducing their services from Northeast with a plea that these routes are loss making.
The matter came to light recently after the SpiceJet that used to ply three flights daily in Agartala withdrew it totally. Tripura Government has already taken up the matter with the Civil Aviation Ministry and wrote a letter urging to restore the ten per cent share of Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb himself has discussed the matter with the highest authority but all went in vain.
With the departure of SpiceJet, Agartala is likely to lose the position of second busiest airport in northeast. Only two airlines – Air India and Indigo are operating in Agartala. The Air India is plying three flights daily out of which one is for army personnel. The Indigo which was plying nine flights per week recently increased it to ten. The Government of Tripura has requested Air Asia to launch its services in Agartala and Air India to increase the number of flights but is yet to receive any response.