Delhi: With the government set to give its approval to four regional airlines,
flying could soon be the preferred mode of travel for people from small towns
and cities across India.
to sources, the Southern region would see licences accorded to three operators,
Air Dravida, Star Aviation and Trans India, while in the north MDLR Airlines would
be the sole player to start with.
to reports only these four applications have met the cut out of a lot of 10 that
were received for starting regional airline operations.
per rules recently framed by the civil aviation ministry, regional airlines would
use small planes, typically turboprops or small passenger jets, to avail the waiver
of landing/parking charges at airports, along with cheaper aviation turbine fuel
stipulate that these regional airlines can operate from one metro airport in each
region, except the South where they have been allowed to fly between Chennai,
Hyderabad and Bangalore.
these regional airlines would fly planes with a seating plan for 50-100 passengers.
However, ticket prices would most probably remain competitive with the larger
players. According to Ramachandran Iyer, executive director, Air Dravida would
be a full-fare airline, offering a convenient schedule, flying short haul with
increased frequency, but not as ab low-cost carrier. Initially, the airline would
lease three Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft to commence operations connecting Chennai
to various smaller cities in the South. In about three months, the airline would
add another two aircraft to its fleet.
Coimbatore, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore and Hyderabad are on Air Dravida''s
flight plan, connecting all these cities with Chennai, and flying between Hyderabad
Air India too has recently re-branded its regional service as Air India Regional,
and uses small aircraft to connect small towns and cities. Current routes include
Delhi-Kanpur, Delhi-Kullu and Delhi-Allahabad, while an indicative list of 16
city pairs has been drawn up by AI and Indian''s merger consultants Accenture,
which will see small 60-70 seaters planes servicing the demand for air travel.
According to reports, the aircraft would operate in a single-class configuration,
with some basic food service keeping in mind the short duration of the flights.
Aviation and Trans India are still crystallising their plans. Star Aviation, though
yet to take a call on its routes, has plans to get five 70-seater aircraft, either
on lease or through purchase. Trans India''s is reported to be still looking for
funding ($30-100 million), and operations are expected to begin by only late next
Airlines is reportedly looking to convert its existing non-scheduled carrier licence
into that of a regional airline, so that it can avail the parking fee waiver and
lower fuel costs. The airline plans to connect north Indian cities such as Dharamshala,
Dehradun, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Jaipur and Jodhpur with Delhi.