Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia today said he has started 44 new flights in the last 35 days from Madhya Pradesh. "Today flights are taking off from Jabalpur to Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Hyderabad and Kolkata. From August 20, flights will start from Jabalpur to Delhi and Indore," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Eight of these flights would be under UDAN scheme, which focusses on connecting smaller airports to metros and other cities, he had said earlier. The government has set a target of operationalising 100 unserved and underserved airports under the UDAN scheme, Mr Scindia's predecessor Hardeep Puri had said.
Mr Scindia -- who joined the BJP in March last year after a 19-year career in the Congress -- was rewarded with the civil aviation portfolio in the last restructure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Council of ministers last month. The portfolio was once handled by his father, Madhavrao Scindia.
Speaking to the media during his visit to Indore, the Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh said, "I am dedicated and it will be my endeavour to take India forward in the civil aviation sector under the leadership of the Prime Minister".
"I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda that they believed in me, I am ready to serve the people," he added.
Mr Scindia handled the Commerce and Industry ministry in the the UPA-II government between 2009 and 2012. Between 2012 and 2014, he was in charge of the power ministry.
Restive after the Congress defeat in the 2019 general elections, Mr Scindia moved to the BJP with 22 loyalists in March 2020, bringing the state's Kamal Nath government tumbling down.
He was later rewarded by the BJP with a Rajya Sabha seat.
His elevation to the government now entails a challenge. For the aviation sector, it is a tough time, given the Covid-induced restrictions on travel. The hospitality industry and travel sector has been brought to a grinding halt and airlines are struggling to survive as flights have drastically reduced all over the world.