Business aircraft operators air their concerns over UDAN

Business aircraft operators air their concerns over UDAN

Business aircraft operators addressed their concerns over the Centre’s Regional Connectivity Scheme to the executive director of Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the BizAV India 2017 conference organised by Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA), here on Monday.

The scheme, also known as Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) intends to boost air connectivity to underserved or unserved airports in the country and increase accessibility to air travel.

Rohit Kapur, managing director of Arrow Aircraft Sales and Charters said that while the policy was good, the implementation is falling short of expectations. “We needed a policy which would allow non-scheduled operators’ transition seamlessly into scheduled flight operators. But, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has placed several entry barriers.”

He pointed out that several single-engine aircraft were serving low-traffic routes in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan but the draft civil aviation requirements formed by DGCA say that only twin-engine aircraft can be used for scheduled flights.

G K Chaukiyal, executive director (Project Monitoring and Quality Assurance) in AAI, said that work on the scheme was in full swing and changes are being made based on concerns of stakeholders.  The civil aviation ministry is in discussions over the issues Kapur raised, he said. 

He said that in the first leg of the bidding process, 43 proposals were received from 11 bidders, covering 190 UDAN routes. This is expected to operationalise 35 to 40 underserved or unserved airports in the country. Of these routes, 32 are in the western region of the country, 21 in the northern region, 16 in the southern region, 12 in the eastern region and 11 in the northeastern region.

Chaukiyal said that a new category has been added to enable operators of under-20 seater aircraft to get financial support through Viability Gap Funding (VGF).

The members of the association pointed out that the regulatory authority, DGCA, needs to be modernised.

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