Darbhanga will be the latest addition to the list of active airports in India. Located in the northern part of the state of Bihar, the airport will see services from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru – to be started by Spicejet under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik)
Once part of BIMARU state, Bihar has grown its economy in the last couple of years. Bihar now has ranks 15th in terms of economy amongst all states in India. The economy of Bihar is comparable to that of Sri Lanka in GDP terms. Bihar is the third largest state by population. The state has a rich history and has a lot of tourist spots, especially on the Buddhist circuit.
The flights to Darbhanga will also cater to Muzaffarpur – which also has an airport but has been lying defunct. The city has a major railhead with connections to multiple major cities across the country. With Patna airport not being able to expand, the civil enclave at Bihta running behind schedule and Patna making it to one of the most popular routes pre and post lockdown in India, Darbhanga could attract a lot of traffic.
The state of Bihar is due for elections in October 2020 and like in the past, government schemes are either coming to fructification with a spate of inaugurations or new announcements are being made before the code of conduct comes in effect. I will wonder if a new airport or a new flight has an impact on the electorate, especially in a state where majority of the population is labour and reaches out to other metro’s for work.
Darbhanga airport is under the control of Indian Air Force and the Airports Authority of India is building a civil enclave to support the flights. Spicejet bid and won the rights under UDAN2.0 however with the airport not being ready, the start of the flight must have been subsequently delayed!
SG493 BLR0845 – 1115DBR
SG494 DBR1625 – 1855BLR
SG495 DEL1410 – 1555DBR
SG496 DBR1145 – 1330DEL
SG705 BOM0940 – 1210DBR
SG706 DBR1240 – 1510BOM
All flights are daily and operated by B737 aircraft.
A couple of days ago, Minister of Civil Aviation (I/C) Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri had visited Darbhanga to review the progress and announced the flights starting November. Reeling under the pressure of lower loads and financial head winds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines have been struggling without help. The RCS-UDAN scheme has turned out to be a life saver for few airlines due to the subsidy associated with the routes operated under this scheme.
Darbhanga is all set to be the first new station to have started post the lockdown in India!