Replying to a question by Agra City MP S.P. Singh Baghel in the Lok Sabha this week, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri gave an assurance that the tourism industry's long-pending demand for air connectivity between the Taj city and major destinations would soon be addressed.
He said airlines were ready with plans to start flights connecting Agra with Varanasi, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Mumbai, Lucknow, Delhi and Jaipur. The Minister announced that four of these flights will begin in December.
This week, the Air India flight connecting Delhi with Khajuraho, Varanasi via Agra began operations. Another flight is set to begin from August 15, connecting Agra with Jaipur and Jaisalmer.
The tourism industry in Agra has welcomed the news and is hoping for a major boost in coming tourist season, which usually begins from September 27, the World Tourism Day.
Rakesh Chauhan, President of the Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association said: "We welcome the news, but until the air connectivity promise is fulfilled, we have to keep up the pressure, as promises made in the past are yet to translate into action."
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Baghel said he had also demanded separate route to the Agra Airport to avoid hassles to passengers having to go through the Air Force station. Work on the new airport terminal building is held up due to restrictions imposed on construction by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The government should soon give the clearance, he added.
( With inputs from IANS )