Private charter firms to fly on regional routes

New Delhi: Private charter firms Deccan Charter and Air Odisha together are learnt to have bagged around 50 regional air routes to propel Udan — the government’s ambitious regional connectivity scheme. The process of selection of the routes and operators is nearly complete, and the government is likely to make an announcement in this regard in a few days, sources told PTI.

Air India’s subsidiary Alliance Air, regional carrier TrueJet’s holding company Turbo Megha Airways and budget airline SpiceJet are among the other operators that have won the bids for the Udan (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagarik) flights. While the first RCS (regional connectivity scheme) flight is likely to be operated by Alliance Air to Bhatinda from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport soon, full-scale operations are expected to commence from May, the sources said.

In all, 70 routes have been allocated to five operators for 43 airports, they said. The scheme seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports and make flying more affordable. The ticket price is capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights. The Airports Authority of India is the implementing agency for the scheme. It had received 43 initial proposals from 11 bidders for 43 airports, which would offer RCS flights. Of these, 31 are unserved airports and the remaining under-served.

According to sources, Air Odisha is likely to fly on at least 25 routes under the scheme, while Deccan Charter, owned by Captain G R Gopinath, the founder of Air Deccan, has bagged flights for not less than 21 routes.