Air Odisha, Air Deccan on verge of final takeoff under UDAN scheme

Representative Image. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Air Odisha and Air Deccan should be able to fly on regional routes that they had bid for earlier this year by the end of September, a senior official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday. The two airlines are approaching the market for spares and maintenance together.

The beginning of flight operations by these two airlines will give a boost to the government's regional air connectivity scheme (RCS)- also known as the Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik or UDAN scheme. Under the scheme, Air Odisha had won the right to operate on 50 routes, while Air Deccan was awarded 34 routes. These two airlines bagged the maximum number of routes among the five airlines that were given the mandate to start flying under the RCS scheme of the government.

"Out of a total five procedural requirements, the two airlines have completed two processes that need to be completed with the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the issue of a licence to start a regional airline. They have also approached the authorities for importing six Beechcraft aircraft between them," the official said.

Sanjay Arya CEO of Air Odisha is planning to get five Beechcraft aircraft, besides considering the induction of spare and maintenance parts. " We have almost finalised the deal for aircraft and lessor," he said without sharing any further details.

The government had, in March, stipulated the five airlines to begin operations by the end of September. Failure to start operations would result in the withdrawal of the license altogether.

Alliance Air, the regional arm of Air India, SpiceJet and TruJet were the other airlines that won the right to operate flights under the RCS scheme. While Alliance has started flights to Shimla, Bhatinda, Pant Nagar and Gwalior from Delhi, SpiceJet has started operating on the Mumbai-Porbandar and Mumbai-Kandla routes under the scheme. Similarly, TruJet has started operations on the Hyderabad-Nanded and Hyderabad-Kadapa routes under the scheme.

The UDAN scheme seeks to make flights affordable for people from tier-II and tier-III cities by offering tickets at a rate of Rs 2,500 per seat per hour. Airlines operating under the UDAN scheme have to ensure that the prices of at least 50 per cent of the seats on their flights are available at a price of Rs 2,500 each for an hour of flying. The Centre and state will provide viability gap funding for the airlines operating on the UDAN routes to ensure profitability of these flights.

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