Air India is set to begin its services between Uttarakhand capital Dehradun and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh from September 28. The development was confirmed by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said Monday.
Taking to Twitter, the chief minister said, "Iam happy to share the news that @airindiain is connecting Dehradun to Varanasi via Mum-Ded-Vns flight starting 28/9/2019. This is an important milestone in our bid to connect Uttarakhand to cities along Ganga ji by air and I thank AI Chairman Ashwini Lohani jee for this."
The new route is said to provide better connectivity to pilgrims in Varanasi in UP and Haridwar and Rishikesh in the hill state, Rawat said.
Aviation Advisor, Uttarakhand government, Capt Deep Shrivastava, in a press release, said the service will be operational on Wednesday and Saturday every week till October 26.
Meanwhile, Air India Monday posted an operating loss of around Rs 4,600 crore in the last financial year mainly due to higher oil prices and foreign exchange losses but the debt-laden carrier expects to turn operationally profitable in 2019-20.
Reflecting tough business conditions, the airline's net loss stood at about Rs 8,400 crore while total revenues touched around Rs 26,400 crore in 2018-19, one of the senior officials said.
Another senior official said the airline is projected to post an operating profit of Rs 700 to 800 crore in 2019-20, provided oil prices do not shoot up significantly and there is no steep fluctuation in foreign exchange rates.
However, the airline incurred an operating loss of Rs 175 to 200 crore in the three months ended June as the closure of Pakistan airspace for Indian carriers resulted in higher costs and caused a daily loss of Rs 3 to 4 crore when the restrictions were in place, the official said.