New Delhi/Pathankot, Apr 5 (PTI) Pathankot in Punjab came under the civil aviation network today with Alliance Air operating its first flight from Delhi under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme, UDAN.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the first flight to the border town.

Alliance Air began operations with an ATR aircraft on the route. The flight will be available on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The ticket price is Rs 2,570.

“Pathankot is a very important border city for India and an important destination. This flight will not only provide connectivity to the people in Punjab, but will also boost economic activities in Pathankot. In the coming days we will be able to connect many other places like this,” the minister said after inaugurating the flight at the IGI airport in Delhi.

The flight, AI 835, will leave Delhi at 9.55 am and land in Pathankot at 11.30 am. The return flight will leave Pathankot at 11.50 am and arrive in Delhi at 1.45 pm. The fare on the route is 2,570, the airline said in a statement.

Pathankot is the 21st city to be connected under the scheme.

Alliance Air is Air India’s fully owned subsidiary that operates flights to Tier II and Tier III cities.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, accompanied by state Congress president and Gurdaspur MP Sunil Jakhar, was at the airport to welcome the passengers on board the flight on its arrival.

The chief minister said that it was a red-letter day for the region. It is expected to give a boost to the region’s connectivity and tourism potential.

Being at the tri-junction of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, Pathankot would also get a huge boost to its tremendous tourism potential as a result of the launch of the flight, which would operate on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays every week, he added.

The chief minister said the government’s plans to develop an international-standard tourist destination at Pathankot-Dalhousie Road near the Ranjit Sagar Lake, which would also give a huge fillip to the region’s tourism industry, as it was expected to draw more than 50,000 tourists annually.

The launch of today’s flight was the result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Government of Punjab, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in the Government of India and Airports Authority of India on June 15, 2017 for starting flights under the regional connectivity scheme from Ludhiana, Adampur, Bathinda and Pathankot.

Under the MoU, there are four flights already in service in Bathinda (which is now connected to Delhi and Jammu) and two in Ludhiana (connecting to Jammu).

The Centre and the Punjab government were working to start flights from the Adampur Airport at the earliest, said the chief minister.

Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion was Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.