In March, when Alliance Air / Air India Regional started operations at Bareilly, I had written how the airport could get its much needed fillip if IndiGo launches operations. IndiGo – India’s largest carrier by fleet and domestic market share is launching flights to Bareilly (IATA: BEK) starting August 12, 2021 and progressively add more flights.
The airline will connect Mumbai and Bengaluru in first phase
6E828 BOM0925 – 1130BEK
6E5304 BEK1230 – 1440BOM
Flights between Mumbai and Bareilly will operate four times a week – on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The airline will deploy Airbus A320 on this sector
The airline will connect Bareilly and Bengaluru with 3x weekly flights effective August 14, 2021.
6E6521 BLR0840 – 1130BEK
6E6522 BEK1230 – 1520BLR
Flights will be operated by A320 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Bareilly (IATA:BEK) is a civil enclave at a front line Indian Air Force Station. The terminal building has been designed to cater to up to 200 passengers per hour. The airport will serve the city of Bareilly – located around 250 kilometers by road from New Delhi. The airbase never had a facility to accommodate civil aircraft movements. With RCS-UDAN trying to connect more and more parts of the country, Bareilly joins many other Air Force Stations in welcoming civil flights.
Land was acquired to build a civil enclave at a point away from the operational area of the air base. Efforts were made to ensure that the apron can accommodate A320/B737 aircraft. Bareilly can act as a gateway to certain regions of Uttarakhand, like Haldwani which is a commercial hub in the state. Bareilly has military importance from the days of the British with the Indian Army having presence at Bareilly Cantonment.
Uttar Pradesh is rapidly developing airports
The state of Uttar Pradesh has been investing heavily in airports and over the next couple of months see up to 14 airports being operational, a feat unmatched by any other state in the country. Uttar Pradesh is also the most populous state in India. Some of the airports are in final stages of construction and could see certification from DGCA soon, leading to flights being operational. With elections in the state due next year, the RCS-UDAN routes could be flagged off before the model code of conduct is in place.
What it means for IndiGo
Bareilly will be the sixth station for the airline in Uttar Pradesh after Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Agra. That leaves only Kanpur out of existing airports which the airline can operate to. Hindon, on the outskirts of Delhi, is part of Uttar Pradesh but restricted to RCS flights only.
With a slot constrained airport like Mumbai – it was impossible to add new flights in the past. During the pandemic, there is a cap on capacity and traffic between the metro routes has dwindled. This has led to reduction in frequency on these routes and slots being utilized to connected more cities. Monopoly routes also help push up yields.
With multiple airports coming up and most of them capable of handling ATR72 aircraft and not the A320/B737, it might make sense for IndiGo to open a new base for the ATRs at Lucknow and look at Lucknow as a mini-hub on the lines of Ahmedabad or Jaipur.