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Kashi to get direct flight for Chennai Jun 03rd, 2019 from Times of India

 Kashi to get direct flight for Chennai

The Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, which had started witnessing a dip in number of flights due to issues like grounding of Boeing 737 Max model and Jet Airways running into trouble in past five-six months, will see the launch of new flights from June 6 with a direct flight from Kashi to Chennai being started by Air India. Talking to TOI, LBS International Airport director, Anil Kumar Rai, said on Sunday, “The airport witnessed continuous growth in number of flights connecting Varanasi with various Indian and international cities in 2018. But, the issues of grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max model following March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight and Jet Airways suspending operations, reduced eight flights from here.

Number of flights had gone up to 38 by 2018-end, but now 28 regular flights are available from here.” Rai said, “The number of flights from this airport are going to increase again following the announcement of a new flight between Varanasi and Chennai by Air India.” Air India station manager Atif Idris said that the Varanasi-Chennai flight will start operating from June 6 and will be available on four days in week — Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. With this flight, passengers will get direct connectivity to the four metro cities Delhi, Mumbai , Kolkata and Chennai , and an international flight for Sharjah with Air India, he added. LBS airport had joined the elite club of 20 airports with 24x7 operation facility on October 28, 2018 when three new flights for Guwahati, Delhi and Bengaluru were introduced in a single day.

According to Rai, the number of destinations accessible through aerial route from Varanasi has reached to 18 including four international destinations- Sharjah, Bangkok, Kathmandu and Colombo.
In June 2018, this airport had also received the Airport Authority of India’s nod for expansion of its runway with an underpass to keep the alignment of Varanasi - Lucknow highway (National Highway-56) unchanged. The expansion of the runway was proposed in Masterplan-2004 of the authority.

The proposal also kept biting dust in files for over a decade, until AAI sent a letter to the state government on March 27, 2015, through the director of civil aviation UP to seek 593.77 acres of land. However, the proposal of runway expansion started gaining momentum in 2017 when AAI restarted identification of land for the expansion of runway.

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