“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given its nod for operation of four flights of the two airlines in night hours from the city airport. One of the flights will provide direct connectivity of the Patna airport with the Pune International Airport at Lohegaon,” JPNI director Rajendra Singh Lahauria said on Friday.
At present, flight operations at the city airport are held between 7.30am and 9.30pm.
“It is good news for flyers that JetLite, a low-cost subsidiary of Jet Airways, will operate a direct flight from Pune-Patna-Pune that will land here at 1.35am and depart at 2.45am from March 25,” Lahauria said, adding three more flights of IndiGo would start operating in night hours from the Patna airport from April 30.
IndiGo’s Bengaluru-Patna-Bengaluru flight will land here at 12.05am and depart at 3.55am. While the Hyderabad-Patna-Hyderabad flight will land here at 1.25am and depart at 1.55am, the Chennai-Kolkata-Patna-Kolkata-Chennai flight will also operate at midnight.
According to the airport director, the number of flights operating from the city airport is expected to go up from the existing 38 to 51 with the commencement of 24X7 flight operations. Hence, the manpower is also being increased.
“In a meeting held at the airport on Friday, the staff were briefed about their extended duties for night operations. At present, at least 190 employees, including 32 in the Air Traffic Control unit and 192 Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans work at the airport. Around 200 more CISF jawans, 30 firefighting personnel and some other staff will be hired for night operations,” Lahauria said, adding the airport had all the facilities required for 24-hour operations.
The airport director claimed that the decision to begin night operations was taken in the wake of rapid increase in passenger flow at the city airport in the recent years.
As per the economic survey of Bihar for the fiscal 2017-18 released last month, the number of passengers flying from the Patna airport increased from 1.76 lakh in 2004-05 to 21.12 lakh in 2016-17, implying a growth from 483 passengers per day to 5,787 per day during the same period.
Works on development of a new terminal building, utilizing funds to the tune of Rs 800 crore, will also start from April. As per a detailed project report prepared by Singapore-based firm Meinhardt, the building will be a two-storey structure equipped with six aerobridges and other state-of-the-art facilities.