25 Jan 2018 13:31 IST

UDAN-II will see ‘explosion in air connectivity’: Sinha

All 31 airports under Round 1 of RCS to be operational by March 20: Ministry official

After the second round of bidding, more airlines are going to become a part of the government’s regional air connectivity (RCS) scheme.

IndiGo, Jet Airways and Zoom Air have won the right to operate flights under the UDAN scheme in the second round. They join Alliance Air and SpiceJet both of whom have won the right to operate more flights under UDAN II.

Jayant Sinha, Minister for State for Civil Aviation, announced that four to five cities around the country including Koppal and Hubballi in Karnataka will see an “explosion in air connectivity”.

Turbo Aviation has won the right to operate flights from Baldota/Koppal to Bengaluru, Goa and Hyderabad while IndiGo has won the right to fly from Baldota/Koppal to Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kochi.

IndiGo has won the right to operate from Hubli to Goa and Kannur while both SpiceJet and Alliance Air have won the right to operate from Hubballi to Hyderabad.

IndiGo plans to use its 74 seater ATR aircraft for connecting Hubballi to Kannur while it will operate the 180 seater Airbus A320 to operate Baldota/Koppal.

SpiceJet plans to link Thanjavur to Chennai while Turbo Aviation plans to link Vellore with Bengaluru and Chennai. SpiceJet also plans to link Pakyong airport in Sikkim with Delhi, Guwahati and Kolkata using a 78-seater Bombardier Q 400 aircraft.

Kannur airport, the new Greenfield airport in Kerala, will see operations to eight cities including Bengaluru and Chennai (both SpiceJet and IndiGo plan to operate to both these cities).

In addition, IndiGo also plans to operate flights to Kochi, Goa, Huballi, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram from Kannur.

Meanwhile, the government said that it expects all the 31 airports to which airlines were given the right to operate flights under the first round of RCS to be operational by March 20, said RN Choubey, Secretary Civil Aviation.

Currently 16 of the 31 airports which were to be connected under the first round of the RCS have been connected, Choubey said adding that the others could not be connected as Air Odisha and Air Deccan which won the rights had financing issues.

“We have got a commitment from them saying week-by-week when they will connect the remaining airports and the last end date is March 20,” Choubey said.

Air Odisha and Air Deccan, were the two airlines which won the right to operate the maximum number of flights under the government’s first round of bidding under RCS .

Asked whether the rising oil prices was a cause of concern for the aviation industry, Choubey said that as of “now there is no concern because we do not expect it to get into an oil shock stage”.

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