IndiGo Airlines to start regional flights under UDAN Scheme using ATR aircrafts
India’s largest airline IndiGo has announced plans to introduce 50 aircraft for regional routes giving major aid to the government’s initiative UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme to encourage internal connectivity.
The airline on Tuesday announced its plans to add 50 ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft for regional operations along with its narrow body fleet, which has 133 Airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet. The UDAN scheme plans to provide affordable airfare to everyone in the country with a fare cap of Rs 2,500 per person per hour.
“In support of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s UDAN scheme, we are undertaking a journey to build a regional network across the country and connect cities that have not benefitted from the growth in Indian aviation,” IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said in a statement.
IndiGo plans to start flight operations under the scheme by the end of this year and introduce 20 aircraft by December 2018. Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India has started its operation between Shimla and New Delhi; and TruJet, a Hyderabad-based airline has started operations between Hyderabad to Cudappa and Nanded through a bidding process.
People have responded well to the scheme. Alliance Air is offering a subsidized rate of approximately Rs 2,000/month. It can only offer limited seats due to payload restrictions, offering only 35 out of 50 seats. There is a lot of demand exceeding the capacity of the airlines.
A senior official said that there is a specialized solution to the increasing demand and the airlines are working to increase the number of seats available. TruJet also has a good demand with around 80 per cent occupancy.
It is important to note occupancy during the summer holiday season and the response can only be considered during normal days. This will help in measuring the sustainability of the flights and give a clear idea of further investment.