Thursday, January 03, 2019

SpiceJet likely to emerge with maximum routes under third round of UDAN

The fourth largest airline in the country, SpiceJet, is likely to emerge with the maximum routes under the third round of regional connectivity scheme, which is likely to see a total of 8-9 players, sources close to the development told CNBC-TV18.

In addition to SpiceJet, the third round of UDAN or Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik is also expected to witness the participation of IndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India’s arm Alliance Air, TruJet and Star Air from Ghodawat group, sources said.

Seaplane or amphibious aircraft which can take off and land on land as well as water will also make entry in the third round and SpiceJet will be the main player in this category. In October 2017, the airline had entered into an agreement with Japan’s Setouchi Holdings to explore opportunities to acquire 10- and 14-seater amphibious and land planes to provide air connectivity to smaller towns and cities.

“Financial bids were opened yesterday (Wednesday) and we saw the participation of around 15 players. We are still conducting an evaluation of those bids and after assessment, it is likely that around 8-9 players will make the final cut,” one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.

The nodal agency, Airports Authority of India (AAI), had floated the bids under the scheme in the first week of November and the routes are likely to be awarded by the second week of January, another source said.

Aimed at making air travel widespread and affordable, the government had launched UDAN in April 2017 with five players including SpiceJet and Alliance Air. Routes under the second round were awarded in December 2017, which also saw the debut of helicopter services under the scheme.
03/01/19 Anu Sharma/CNBC TV18