Monday, September 11, 2017

Will the state find luck in the air this time

Ahmedabad: Gatisheel Gujarat doesn’t seem to have much luck in the air. Almost a decade after its first attempt, the government continues to strive for successful intra- State air connectivity. Three failed attempts later, it is back with another plan under Ude Desh ka Har Nagrik (UDAN) scheme. It has invited Deccan Airways and Air Odisha to jointly operate flights within its borders. If all goes well, flights may take off by the end of September. The ministry of civil aviation had announced UDAN scheme in March 2017. Hoping to fulfil its long-cherished dream, the Gujarat government joined the bandwagon. Deccan Airways and Air Odisha won the contract to operate on certain routes in the State. Representatives from both the groups met State government officials and city-based businessmen last week to sort out a few issues. Apparently, they are waiting for clearance from Union aviation ministry. Going by past failures as well as changing policies of State, any apprehension over the fate of a fresh attempt is completely justified.
For the first time, Gujarat had attempted an intra-State flight with State-run Gujarat Air in 2007. However, the plan did not work out. Later Deccan Air started intra-state operations here hoping to get support from State government. But, the expected support never came. Following that, Mumbai-based Mehair was awarded the contract to run intra-state airline. The business was wrapped up in just a month in absence of sufficient traffic. Deccan Airways Group chief finance officer and head of business development Anantha Raman said, “Yes we had started flights, but could not continue them at that time.
For the first time, Gujarat had attempted an intra-State flight with State-run Gujarat Air in 2007. However, the plan did not work out. Later Deccan Air started intra-state operations here hoping to get support from State government. But, the expected support never came. Following that, Mumbai-based Mehair was awarded the contract to run intra-state airline. The business was wrapped up in just a month in absence of sufficient traffic. Deccan Airways Group chief finance officer and head of business development Anantha Raman said, “Yes we had started flights, but could not continue them at that time.
Now we will begin operations soon in association with Air Odisha. Deccan will take care of aircraft maintenance while Air Odisha will operate the aircraft.” This time around, the State government is confident of success. Director of Civil Aviation Ajay Chauhan said, “We have two routes operational under UDAN scheme. State government also supported intra-state operation separately under which Surat-based Aviation Company is flying their single-engine aircrafts.” Spicejet started operating on two routes in Gujarat- —Mumbai Kandla and Mumbai Porbandar—in July 2017.
11/09/17 Alok Brahmbhatt/Ahmedabad Mirror

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