Thursday, February 09, 2023

India is considering a plan to buy and lease small planes to airlines

Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia has said that the government is looking at options of leasing for sub 20-seater aircrafts to ensure viability of the scheme aimed at enabling last-mile air connectivity for Tier 2 and 3 cities.

Terming less revenue as an impediment for operators of sub 20-seater aircrafts, he stressed on the need to expand depth and breadth of aviation for the small aircrafts scheme aimed at sub 20-seater aircrafts to connect hilly states and crowded urban agglomerations like Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Former Executive Director of Air India, Jitendra Bhargava welcomed the prospect of leasing of small aircrafts by the government as consonant with its plans to operationalise 70 more airports.

Likening the model to cab aggregators where vehicles aren't bought but only requisitioned, he said that leasing won't just reduce the cost of buying but also maintaining aircrafts through a common service model.

Drawing parallels with commuter small aircrafts in US on routes with lesser air passenger traffic, Bhargava said that extensive deployment of smaller aircrafts will also imply lesser operational costs at smaller airstrips.

He feels this will enable growth of the aviation sector even in areas where airlines with bigger aircrafts had discontinued operations in the past due to less than adequate passengers.

Suggesting that such aircrafts may get booked for bulk passenger trips like corporate meetings or wedding parties, he opposed any kind of subsidies for sub 20-seater aircrafts to ensure their viability. He added that the only impediment to the growth in use of sub 20-seater aircrafts would be faster trains like Vande Bharat on shorter routes.

09/02/23 Abhimanyu Sharma/CNBCTV18

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