Friday, April 02, 2021

Udan Upshot: 36 of 108 airports to have single airline operator

India has been adding operational airports at breakneck speed. The summer schedule will see 108 operational airports. A lot of this has been possible due to a sustained focus on Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) - UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik).

The scheme initially envisioned connecting the unserved and underserved airports of the country. But change is afoot. While route pairs (origin and destination airport) were bid out, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) continued to invest in airports where the Selected Airline Operator (SAO) was willing to start services.

This led to more airports becoming operational. As the route level bidding started, airlines bid for all routes from a particular airport and this helped reduce costs for the airline and offer better routing options for aircraft. For example, now IndiGo, India’s largest airline, operates one aircraft on the Bengaluru-Kurnool-Visakhapatnam and back the same way. Likewise, Alliance Air, an Air India unit, operates flights to Jagdalpur from Hyderabad and Raipur with a single aircraft.

That is not the only interesting upshot.

Now, some of India’s airlines will have a monopoly in 36 out of the 108 airports. Alliance Air, the subsidiary of the national carrier that uses only the smaller ATR planes, has the most number of such airports. The airline secured permits to operate to 14 such stations and it doesn’t have to worry about competition from a competitor. Alliance Air, or Air India Regional as it is branded on the aircraft, has been a monopoly operator to certain stations such Shimla, Kullu and or Agatthi for several years.

With the advent of RCS-UDAN, the list has got longer. Air India Regional serves places such as Ludhiana, Pantnagar, Bilaspur and Jagdalpur in the fertile plains of North India or the hinterland.

Next in the pecking order is Trujet, which has expanded on the back of RCS-UDAN, making the most of what a regional carrier can do with subsidy from the government. The airline is the sole operator at eight stations. Of these eight, Keshod will be operational soon while it already has flights to Kadapa, Vidyanagar, Jalgaon, and Salem, among others.

IndiGo, India’s largest carrier by domestic market share, recently launched flights to Kurnool. The airline is the only operator at this town in Andhra Pradesh. Tuticorin, Jorhat and Agra are other airports that are now IndiGo monopoly airports.

02/04/21 Ameya Joshi/Moneycontrol

To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment