Bangalore: Air Deccan, India's second largest airline flagged-off its maiden daily flight from Delhi to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, deploying a 180-seater Airbus A320 on the route. With this latest launch, Air Deccan becomes the first low cost carrier to fly to the highest airport in the country.
Leh, the largest town of Ladakh, is situated at an altitude of 10,800 ft above sea level and is a popular tourist place. Opening of this sector is part of Air Deccan's ongoing commitment to connect not-so-easily-accessible destinations with the outside world. Ladakh now becomes the highest altitude airfield to which Air Deccan has spread its wings. Jammu, Srinagar and Katra are the other destinations that the airline has already connected in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
Warwick Brady, chief operating officer, Air Deccan, said "The Leh airport is the only easy link for Ladakh to the rest of the country. With seven months of snowfall disrupting all road-rail links in the region, Air Deccan's low-cost-easy travel option will enable more tourists to explore this rich cultural, religious and adventurous land."
He also added, "With tourist influx in Ladakh growing every year (40,000 tourists in 2006) and nearest rail link being 700 kms away in Jammu, Air Deccan will definitely prove to be a catalyst in growth of tourism and economy in the region. The bookings for this sector, which opened on 30th April 2007 have already seen a huge influx of passengers including domestic and foreign tourist groups. The overall load on this sector for the coming months is expected to be around 80%, which is exceptional for a newly introduced flight. "
The daily flight will depart Delhi at 0520 hours and arrive at Leh at 0650 hours, and will leave Leh at 0720 hours reaching Delhi at 0840 hours.
By way of precaution the carrier has asked passengers to arrive at Leh airport at least two hours in advance of the flight, keeping in mind long security procedures.
Air Deccan is India's fastest growing low cost airline with the largest network that covers 65 airports, plying over 350 flights a day. The airline currently operates a brand new fleet of 19 Airbus A320 aircraft and 24 ATR Turboprop aircraft.