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5 airlines to fly 128 routes, connect 70 airports

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Source: Air India

In order to connect the country’s under-served and unserved airports under the Centre’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), five airlines, including SpiceJet and an Air India subsidiary, have won bids to operate on 128 routes.

The routes will connect 70 airports, including 31 unserved and 12 under-served ones under the scheme — also known as UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik).

On each flight, 50 per cent of the seats are capped at Rs 2,500 per seat for one-hour travel.

Air Odisha Aviation got maximum number of 50 routes followed by Air Deccan (34) and Turbo Megha Airways (18).

The AI subsidiary Airline Allied Services would operate on 15 routes while SpiceJet won bids for 11 routes.

The first flight under UDAN is expected to start next month, said Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey.

Announcing the names of winning bidders and the routes, Choubey said 128 routes are being awarded to a total of five operators.

The carriers will operate 19-78 seater aircraft. These flights would connect airports spread across over 20 states and union territories including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

As many as 128 unconnected-by-air city pairs will get flights between April and September under the first phase of the Centre’s affordable regional connectivity scheme.

Five carriers — SpiceJet, Air India’s subsidiary Alliance Air, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha — will operate on these routes, putting 31 unserved airports on the national flight map apart from utilising 12 under-served airports, the aviation ministry said on Thursday.

Half of the seats on 19 to 78-seater small planes (turboprops) operating on these routes will have a fare cap of Rs 2,500 per hour. Operators will get viability gap funding (VGF) from a fee levy on flights operated out of big cities, which will mean an increase in fares of about Rs 50 for passengers on those routes.