Thousands of air travellers who are seeking flights to Kullu-Manali are unhappy with the limited flight services in the district. At present only two airlines are providing their services on Delhi-Kullu route but they have already been booked till July.
Kingfisher is the only airline that is operating daily flights between Delhi and Kullu. Air India is offering its services only four days a week. Only two 40-seather flights a day were not able to meet the demands of travellers in summer season. As a result, either most of the air travellers are cancelling their trips or they are forced to cover the 14-hours-long boring road trip between Delhi and Manali. Situation does not look good in next month too as the tickets are being sold in advance.
Air India in-charge at Kullu Airport Satish Kumar talked to Discover Kullu Manali that more and more people are preferring air travel than travelling by road every year. “Trend of air travelling is increasing in country. That’s why the seats for a month have already been booked. Now we are planning to operate an additional flight to Kullu,” he said. Travellers were purchasing a Volvo bus ticket from Delhi to Manali for Rs 1,000 and Air India was selling a t-class ticket for Rs 3,380. But the reservation was hold to waiting.
Kingfisher airline has been a hope of quick reservation on Delhi-Kullu airway but the unavailability of seats has left travellers annoyed. “One can get a seat in Kingfisher only if reservation by others is cancelled due to any reason,” Omkar Singh, owner of a ticket reservation agency said. He said the domestic travellers were declining such booking in Kingfisher as the ticket was costing for around Rs 12,000.
Being connected only by road and airways, Kullu-Manali is longing for strong air connectivity. Those who cannot bear the punishment of half day long boring road journey to Manali are now cancelling their trip. Manali hoteliers’ association chairman Gautam Nath Thakur said the unavailability and limited flight services to Kullu-Manali were adversely affecting the tourism industry. “There is a group of travellers who only prefer to travel by flights. Manali is missing such travellers. When Delhi-Kullu route has a demand of more sorties, then why airlines are not paying heed,” he added.