Friday, December 22, 2017

Air Deccan comeback under UDAN scheme: December tickets fly away, January sale still open

The pioneer of low-cost airlines, Air Deccan, is making a big comeback with the launch of its operations under the UDAN scheme from Friday.  The tickets for the first flight (Mumbai-Nashik) under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) on Mumbai-Nashik route have already been sold out for Friday. Until December 29, no tickets are available on the route. Nashik-Mumbai flight tickets are available beginning December 30. Pune-Nashik round trip which costs Rs 3,000 now, will be costing Rs 3,340 after January 1. As per the company website, the ticket price includes all fares and taxes. However, ample tickets are available on different routes from January onwards. Air Deccan will fly on Mumbai-Nashik, Nashik-Pune and Mumbai-Jalgaon routes. Initially, it will have bases in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Shillong, flying to cities around them. Five carriers, including Air Deccan, had won the rights to operate UDAN flights in the first round of bidding held in March. They were awarded 128 routes. Under the Centre’s UDAN scheme, airfares are capped at Rs 2,500 per person for an hour’s flight to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in which the government will provide the subsidy for flying with such low fares.

“Air Deccan authorities have given the schedule saying that they would start operating from December 15, this year,” M K Nayak, the director of Shillong airport had told PTI. The low cost carrier (LCC) will use an 18-20 seater aircraft to carry out the operations, the airport director said. Air Deccan will use Shillong as a hub and it will connect the hub with other destinations in the region such as Agartala, Aizawl and Imphal, he said. The airline will also operate flights between Kolkata and Agartala, the director added. The Centre had recently asked Air Deccan to start operations from the region by making Shillong as a hub after the airline failed to meet the deadline for launching flights on the routes it had bagged under the UDAN scheme.

At present, Alliance Air, the regional arm of Air India, connects Shillong to Kolkata. The airport director said since Shillong airport is a hub for regional connectivity, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has provided facilities for refuelling aircraft. In this regard, Oil India Limited has also completed setting up the refuelling facility within the vicinity of the airport and another oil company is about to complete the refuelling facilities, he said. Nayak also said that a growth in the tourism sector is also expected once Air Deccan starts operating flights. The northeastern region will immensely benefit, he said.
22/12/17 Financial Express

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