Gondia (IATA: BDB) Airport started commercial operations today. The airport saw an inaugral flight by flybig on March 13, 2022 where the flight was flagged off from Indore by Hon. Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia. The aircraft (VT-TMC), one of the three aircraft which flybig operates, was ferried from Guwahati to Indore a day prior. On a regular basis, the aircraft will be based in Hyderabad and will operate Hyderabad – Gondia – Indore – Gondia – Hyderabad routing.
Gondia becomes the 10th operational airport in the state. With Trujet suspending services to Jalgaon, the count is back to double digit because of flybig starting services to Gondia. Interestingly, flybig took two aircraft of Trujet recently to expand services in North East and add the Gondia connection from Hyderabad and Indore.
Gondia has 25 bays, 24 of which are for Diamond DA40 series while one is for ATR/A320! The airport has been operating as a training established which came up in 2007. CAE Gondia, also known as National Flying Training Institute (NFTI) is a joint venture between CAE and the Airport Authority of India (AAI).
On the commercial front, Gondia has many rice mills in the vicinity and hitherto had Nagpur as the nearest airport. The Mumbai – Howrah railway line passes through Gondia Junction – a major railway station and also the Mumbai – Kolkata rail road passes through the district.
The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) under which the routes are being flown has led to some very remote places being connected while at the same time being questioned for long term feasibility. While cities like Gondia, Darbhanga, Kishangarh have got wings due to these schemes, short routes like Hubli – Goa put question mark on the correct usage of funds! Trujet – which primarily operated UDAN routes started facing head winds recently as more and more UDAN routes reached the end of concession period.
For flybig, it is a warning and the airline would be better off to learn from mistakes of other smaller carriers. The airline would be looking to add more flights from Hyderabad, since the current utilisation is poor and the aircraft is available for half the day after returning from Gondia/Indore.