Saturday, May 06, 2017

Modi’s UDAN dreams turning out to be a financial burden for Alliance Air

The first flight under the government’s regional connectivity scheme or Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik—UDAN—is already witnessing an existential crisis, barely a week after launch.

The Shimla-Delhi route, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 27 amid fanfare, is turning out to be a financial burden for Alliance Air, the operator of the route. Unable to meet even the cost of operating the aircraft for the route, the airline has sought financial support from Himachal Pradesh government. There has, however, been no response to the proposal as yet.

“We have requested for about Rs 1, 40,000 per day of flying from Himachal Pradesh. We are awaiting their reply and will send them a reminder soon. If they do not respond, then it is a call between the aviation ministry and us whether to continue flying or not,” a senior official from the airline told Cogencis.

“At the moment, all subsidised tickets on the route are booked till June 30, but during monsoon there will be hardly any flyers other than locals or people who are required to go… tourist would not come and this will induce a lot of stress on our financials,” the official said.

Under the scheme, fare for half the seats for a one-hour journey of around 500 km on a fixed wing aircraft or a 30-minute journey on a helicopter has been capped at Rs 2,500, with proportionate pricing for routes of different distances and flight durations.
06/05/17 Anu Sharma/The Free Press Journal