More flights to small towns from Hyderabad and Bengaluru to benefit Chennai travellers

Chennai: Expansion plans of domestic carriers on routes connecting tier 2 and tier 3 cities to capitalise on the buzz around regional connectivity seems to have come as a blessing for travellers from Chennai.
IndiGo airlines, SpiceJet and Go Air's move to have flights to small towns from Hyderabad and Bengaluru offers cheaper and less time-consuming travel options for people from Chennai to reach towns like Lucknow, Ranchi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Jammu and Vijayawada among others.

The airlines are aggressively expanding into tier 2 and tier 3 cities in the wake of the Centre's regional connectivity scheme.

A senior official with a private airline said, "It will be easier for travellers to fly than take trains because there will be several connections available from metros in the coming years to underserved and unserved airports under the Udan regional connectivity scheme."

A Chennai to Ranchi ticket a February trip costs Rs 4,270 for and the flight time is 5hrs and 30min including layover time at Hyderabad airport — around 10 minutes less than a flight via Kolkata. The airfare to Ranchi via Delhi is Rs 7,000-plus and the travel time is 6hrs or more.

A flight ticket from Chennai to Jaipur via Hyderabad is Rs 4,728 for February with a travel time of eight hours and 40 minutes. The flight via Bengaluru takes six hours and 50 minutes.

On the Chennai-Hyderabad-Lucknow route, the fare is Rs 3,824 for January 24, which is cheaper than all other transit routes like Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

There will be more such connections across the country when IndiGo and SpiceJet receive the aircraft they have ordered.


"On 7 and 9 January, 2018, IndiGo is commencing its second and third ATR operations, adding Tirupati and Rajahmundry to IndiGo's 6E network respectively," IndiGo chief commercial officer Sanjay Kumar said in a statement. IndiGo had recently placed an order for 50 aircraft made by Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR.
The airline expects to be able to add seven ATR flights by March 2018 and 21 ATR planes to its fleet by December 2018, he said.
IndiGo in October announced it would strengthen its network in the regional markets with 90 flights to and from Tirupati, Rajahmundry, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Madurai, Vijayawada and Nagpur.
GoAir has strengthened its presence in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolktata, Lucknow, Nagpur and Patna by adding flights from and to these cities in November. SpiceJet has also launched new flights on 20 routes.

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