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Deccan, Alliance Air, others to fly on regional routes

PTI | New Delhi |

Private charter firms Deccan Charter and Air Odisha together are learnt to have bagged around 50 regional air routes to propel the government's ambitious regional connectivity scheme, UDAN.

The process of selection of the routes and the operators is nearly complete and the government is likely to make an announcement on this issue in the next few days, sources close to the development told PTI here.

Air India's subsidiary Alliance Air, regional carrier TrueJet's holding company Turbo Megha Airways and budget airline SpiceJet are among other operators which have won the bids for the UDAN flights, the sources said.

While the first RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) flight is likely to be operated by Alliance Air to Bhatinda from the Indira Gandhi International Airport here soon, full-scale operations are expected to commence from May, they said.

In all, as many as 70 routes have been allocated to five operators for 43 airports, the sources said.

The scheme, known as UDAN (Ude Desh Ke Aam Naagrik), seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports and make flying more affordable. Ticket price is capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) 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 rest under-served.

According to the sources, Air Odisha is likely to fly on at least 25 routes under the scheme, while Deccan Charter, owned by G R Gopinaath, the founder of low-cost airlines in India, has bagged flights for not less than 21 routes.

While Alliance Air and SpiceJet will operate RCS flights on at least five routes each, Turbo Megha would fly on at least six routes, they said.

At some airports, there would be two operators who will be flying on different routes, the sources added.