DIBRUGARH, Oct 16 � Air India is planning to shut down the city booking office at Jyoti Nagar area and has reportedly decided to shift all official activities to the New Terminal Building of the Dibrugarh Airport at Mohanbari, some 15 kms from here. The shifting is likely to take place on November 20, an Air India official, who did not wish to be named, told The Assam Tribune.
Citizens here have expressed their resentment over the development and have called upon the Air India authorities to retain the city ticket booking office in the present premises.
�The ticket booking office of the Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines at the old vintage bungalow at Jyoti Nagar here has become a part of the heritage of the historic city of Dibrugarh. So the same must be retained,� said Satyabrata Sarmah, secretary of the Dibrugarh Bar Association.
Raju Kumar Chetry, a teacher and occasional air passenger said that Air India might lose a big chunk of passengers if they move the city office elsewhere.
Echoing similar views, local MLA Prasanta Phukan said that the city office, if closed by Air India, will be a big blunder as the number of air passenger is witnessing a sharp rise in recent times. �We will voice our concern and ask the Aviation Ministry to make Air India reconsider its decision to shift the city office,� he said.
Passengers have also time and again expressed resentment over routing of Air India flights to and from Dibrugarh via Dimapur.
Sarmah said that due to routing of Air India flights to and from Dibrugarh via Dimapur, the number of passengers travelling in it have declined to a never before level. �It is not perhaps too far away, when Air India will cease to exist in Dibrugarh, which will be a very negative sign for the airline in the backdrop of the �Look East Policy� of the government and also at such a time when the number of air passengers to and from Dibrugarh have grown manifold over the last few years,� he said.
It may be mentioned here that except Air India, flights of other airlines flying to and from Dibrugarh, like Jet Airways and Indigo Airlines, are not routed through Dimapur or any other non-profitable route and accordingly are getting almost full load of passengers in their flights everyday as reported by the passengers themselves.
Passengers are of the view that the Kolkata-Dibrugarh-Kolkata flight must be operated as direct daily flights.