Who will fly to Shivamogga airport first?

It has been a month since Shivamogga airport in Karnataka was inaugurated. However no airline is flying to Shivamogga yet. 

Before we focus on Shivamogga airport, let us look at other airports in Karnataka, excluding BIAL or Bengaluru international airport.



Flights operating



Several flights from BLR, few to Mumbai and Middle East (Indigo, Air India, Air India express)



Indigo to MAA, BLR, DEL, PNQ etc

Star Air to BLR



Star Air to Mumbai, AMD

Indigo to BLR, HYD



Star Air to BLR, Tirupati

Alliance air to BLR


Vidyanagara (Ballari)

Alliance air to BLR and HYD

TruJet shut down



Star Air to BLR, 



Alliance air to Hyd, Goa, MAA

Indigo to MAA

As you can see, other than Mangaluru and Hubballi most other airports have just a few flights every day. Star Air, Alliance air are operating smaller planes. If they can get 50-60 passengers per flight they should be good. When demand is not sustaining, airlines first reduce frequency (just a few days a week) and eventually pull out from an airport completely. 

Shivamogga falls in the middle of Hubballi, Mangaluru, Ballari and Mysuru. Shivamogga has good bus and train connectivity to BLR and other parts of Karnataka, thus a flight may not be an exciting proposition for many. (Bus to BLR takes about 6 hours- flying also will take same time

  • 30 minutes to reach Shivamogga airport from city

  • 2 hours airport formalities

  • 1 hour flying to Bengaluru

  • 1.5 to 2 hour BLR airport to city

A daytime flight will waste half a day end to end. Evening/early morning flight might find more takers else people may prefer cheaper overnight bus or train.

But Shivamogga airport could be preferred by tourists visiting Malenadu area

Jog falls-100 kms

Chikmagaluru- 100 kms

Thirthahalli 60 kms

And many more attractions within a 100 kms radius.

Thus a flight from Mumbai/Delhi stopping at Shivamogga and then proceeding to somewhere else- say Kerala or TN might find a good amount of passengers if fares are attractive. Right now people around Shivamogga who need to go to Delhi have to reach either BLR, Hubli, Mangalore or Goa and then take a flight from there. But I feel Shivamogga city may not necessarily have 100+ people each day who need to go to Delhi. If people of Shivamogga can be enticed to explore North Indian tourist places many of them may come forward and plan a north India trip.

Flights to Hyderabad and Chennai also may find takers- students, businessmen and leisure travelers may grab it. 

Those heading to Goa can fly to Shivamogga, spend a few days enroute-Sagara, Honnavara, Karwar etc) and then head to Goa.

Let us see who operates the first commercial flight to Shivamogga and from where. Someone got to launch the flight, operate for a few months and see how ticket collection goes. If not enough people are buying tickets, airlines will suspend flights and fly elsewhere.

Shivamogga airport is yet to get IATA airport code without which airlines can’t sell tickets. Airport code SIM, SME, SMG etc are all taken.  Airlines can start with ATR or Embraer smaller planes to begin with, as filling all 180 seats of an A320 or B737 might be difficult initially. Also the airport needs food counters, taxi service etc. Unless people start coming, these services won’t take off. There is also a fixed cost of maintaining emergency services, ATC, security and other infrastructure which doesn’t work out unless thousands of passengers fly in and out each day. Unless people start coming, these services won’t take off. Let us hope for the best.

I heard the Govt plans to propose Shivamogga as a cheap place to park aircrafts, encouraging airlines to use it as a hub. We need to see if airlines get excited by this proposition.

Besides people of Shivamogga, the airport can also draw passengers from Udupi, Chikmaglur, Hasana, Sirsi, Honnavara etc if tickets are cheap and flight options are good.

What are your expectations from Shivamogga airport and which airline you think will start operations first?

P.S. I don’t have a photo of Shivamogga airport yet, so I have used some photos of Shivamogga tourist places.

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