SHILLONG, MARCH 16: The Meghalaya Assembly was informed that the Shillong-Delhi flight operated by Flybig is currently not operational since Spicejet was no longer able to provide aircraft to the former on charter leading to disruption in the service.
Transport Minister Dasakhiatbha Lamare, informed the House during the Question Hour that to resume service, Flybig looked at securing an aircraft on dry lease basis but due to the pandemic situation this was not possible leading to a further delay in resuming the Delhi-Shillong-Delhi flight.
Lamare also said that the Department did send Flybig a show cause notice in the month of December 2021 and they requested time till the end of March, 2022 to resume their services. “If they are able to do so we will go ahead with the agreement that was signed in 2020 but if they are not able to continue their services, we will re-examine it and look for a better solution to get this Delhi-Shillong flight going”, the Transport Minister said.
Nongthymmai MLA Charles Pyngrope said that Flybig as an operator has no aircraft of its own even as he added that the Government should look at options to sign an agreement with an operator who has at least 1 or 2 aircrafts of its own. Lamare in his reply said that this agreement when it was signed was done in a very hurried manner and Flybig had promised to avail an aircraft which is a Bombardier Q400.
Supplementing, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the selection was done through a tendering process and two parties had applied and both were asked to give the technical specification of the aircraft that they will be using and how they will be getting it. The Chief Minister said that the second party that applied quoted very high compared to Flybig because they were using a jet and its cost was much higher than a Bombardier. The Transport Minister also said that verbally there were talks internally to operate flight internationally, but officially nothing as of now have been decided.
“Let us make our domestic routes better first and maybe after that we can initiate the international routes”, Lamare said. Meanwhile, Lamare also said that for international flights Umroi had to be declared an international airport even as he also said that verbally he had a personal communication with the Civil Aviation Minister saying that connectivity to Sylhet and Dhaka would be something that would improve the business as well as tourist connectivity. Sangma also informed the House that for Baljek airport, land acquisition is on to expand the runway for making a 2 km plus runway.
(Courtesy: The Sentinel)