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Resentment among passengers over airline move

By Staff correspondent

DIBRUGARH, Jan 15 - Jet Airways, a leading private sector carrier of India, is understood to be in the process of downgrading its operations to and from Dibrugarh with the use of ATR-72 aircraft in place of the present Boeing 737-800 aircraft in the New Delhi-Dibrugarh sector.

Highly placed sources in Jet Airways revealed this development. They said Boeing 737-800 aircraft used in the sector will be shifted to Aizawl.

This has caused widespread resentment among the air passengers who use the Dibrugarh Airport for their travel within the country and abroad. Social activist Nabajyoti Borkakoty, who has been actively involved for the development of the Dibrugarh Airport, said �We certainly do not have an issue over Jet Airways connecting to Aizawl or any other airport in the Northeast. But what has made us very much concerned is that this development comes at the cost of Dibrugarh, an industry hub of the Northeast.�

It may be mentioned here that the Jet Airways flight from Dibrugarh to New Delhi has been the oldest among the presently operating three daily flights in this sector and that the flight has been operated with Boeing 737 type aircraft from the very beginning under the erstwhile Sahara Airlines. The other two flights in the sector are operated by IndiGo, both with 180-seater Airbus 320 aircraft.

Replacing the Boeing 737-800 aircraft with ATR-72 aircraft will mean lesser number of seats for passengers. Moreover, the ATR aircraft without jet engines would consume more time in comparison to Boeing 737 or Airbus 320 aircraft.

Bhudev Phukan, president of the Eastern Assam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, expressed deep resentment over the Jet Airways move. �We feel, this development is against the spirit of Act East Policy of the Government of India,� he said.

Business and corporate air travellers of Tinsukia, Duliajan, Digboi, Dibrugarh and Jorhat have also expressed concern over the move.

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