Recently inaugurated Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh will start seeing scheduled services starting today. SpiceJet will be the sole operator on this route connecting Delhi with Kushinagar four times a week and will follow up thrice weekly flights each from Mumbai and Kolkata which begin on December 18, 2021. As per Flightradar24, VT-SUX is scheduled to operate the inaugural flight.
The flights from Delhi and Kolkata will be operated by the Q400, while those from Mumbai will see the B737 being deployed.
The flight details are
SG2987 DEL1200 – 1335KBK 1357
SG2988 KBK1355 – 1550DEL 1357
SG131 BOM1210 – 1445KBK 246
SG132 KBK1515 – 1800BOM 246
SG4038 CCU1335 – 1520KBK 135
SG4039 KBK1540 – 1725CCU 135
The Delhi – Kushinagar – Delhi sector is part of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik).
The airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 20, 2021. Kushinagar airport has been granted international status for the government and as International flights open up, one would know if any foreign airline is interested in operating flights to Kushinagar or if any Indian airline wants to start routes from Kushinagar.
Kushinagar Airport is located in the vicinity of several Buddhist Cultural Sites like Sravasti, Kapilvastu, Lumbini (Kushinagar itself is a Buddhist cultural site) and declaration as an “International Airport” will offer improved connectivity, wider choice of competitive costs to the air-travellers. It will result in boosting of domestic/international tourism and economic development of the regions.
Kushinagar is located in the north-eastern part of Uttar Pradesh about 50 km east of Gorakhpur and is one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Kushinagar is considered to be the place where Gautam Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
Uttar Pradesh is taking strides in developing airport infrastructure. The state will soon have 14 operational airports. The operationalization of Kushinagar comes a day after ground breaking ceremony was held for the Jewar airport near NOIDA.
Kushinagar has potential to develop on its own as well as help Gorakhpur get additional traffic. Kushinagar airport is around 55 km from Gorakhpur airport. The under construction airport could also serve the city of Gorakhpur. While Gorakhpur has commerical air service currently, the airport is a civil enclave at an airbase of Indian Air Force and thus does not have much scope for expansion.
SpiceJet for its Delhi flight is operating to Kushinagar by reducing services to Gorakhpur on few days of the week. IndiGo – pre COVID, was building a hub with Kolkata at the centre and connecting domestic and international places of importance of Buddhist tourism. As travel opens up, the airline could look at Kushinagar as another spoke of the hub.