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Last Updated : Jan 16, 2019 01:56 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Centre not considering allocating routes to Air Odisha, Air Deccan under UDAN 3

AAI had cancelled licence of both these private airlines, established to provide regional connectivity, on 58 routes in November 2018.

Nikita Vashisht @nikita_vashisht
Representative image
Representative image

Private airlines Air Odisha and Air Deccan are unlikely to be given any routes under third phase of the government's regional connectivity scheme (RCS), UDAN, a senior government official told Moneycontrol.

"Air Odisha and Air Deccan are not being considered, at present, for routes under UDAN 3," RN Choubey, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, told Moneycontrol.

He said that existing financial conditions make it difficult for the government to consider both of them as suitable airlines.

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"We would like to see if they have the necessary capability to undertake such flights because they have not kept up with the commitment which they had given during UDAN 1 and 2," he said.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) had cancelled licence of both these private airlines, established to provide regional connectivity, on 58 routes in November 2018. AAI has also served notice to cancel licence of 26 other routes.

AAI has reasoned that the routes were cancelled due to "infrequent flying and delayed operations".

"The airlines would suddenly withdraw from the routes after a few weeks without any valid reasons. Right now, neither airline is operating any UDAN routes," officials have been quoted as saying.

UDAN, acronym for Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik, is a RCS launched by the government in 2016-17. The scheme envisioned to make air travel affordable for common man, capping air fares at Rs 2,500 per one hour flight.

Air Odisha and Air Deccan were given licence to operate under the first phase of UDAN scheme. The airlines, however, failed to operate as was projected. This also led to government not allocating routes to them under UDAN 2.

As things stand, the airlines are unlikely to fly during the third phase as well.

Moneycontrol had previously reported that the government had only opened their technical bids while considering bids for UDAN 3 and declared their financial bids "invalid".

"We have done due diligence this time so as to check the financial conditions of the airlines. Thus, it was decided to consider their bids invalid," a senior aviation ministry official had told Moneycontrol.

According to data provided by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), both, Air Odisha and Air Deccan have managed to fly only 3,000 and 1,000 passengers, respectively between July and November 2018.

Asked if any of the airlines was planning or has shown intent towards raising funds or getting another investor on board, Choubey said that AO has been saying that they were raising funds but "to what extent they were in a position to get funds is not know".
First Published on Jan 16, 2019 01:50 pm
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