Regional flight connectivity hits air pocket; AAI cancels 58 licences of Deccan Charters, Air Odisha given under UDAN scheme

In a major setback to low-cost regional air connectivity, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) cancelled as many as 58 licences given to regional carriers Air Odisha and Deccan Charters. This was done due to their reported flaws including non-starting of operations and irregular services, said a report by The Financial Express.

The licences were given under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme.

Flying licences granted to these two low-cost carriers to operate services to Delhi and Mumbai have also been terminated, AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra told the newspaper.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Air Odisha and Deccan Charters were given licences for operating services in states including Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

UDAN was launched in March 2017 for promoting regional air connectivity in smaller towns at affordable fares. Air Odisha and Deccan Charters were given licences immediately to begin their operations in six months, i.e by September 2017.

However, the carriers could not start operations within the six-month deadline as some of the airports were not ready for operations, said report.

AAI slaps notices

Air Odisha and GR Gopinath-led Deccan Charters were also issued licences to operate flights to 26 destinations in states including Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh besides certain sectors in the north-eastern parts of the country. However, they reportedly did not start their services in these routes within the deadline forcing the AAI to slap notices on both for terminating their licences.

Earlier, the AAI had cancelled agreement with Air Odisha for operating flights from and to seven airports namely Jharsuguda, Raipur, Raigarh, Bilaspur, Ambikapur, Jagdalpur and Visakhapatnam, IANS reported.

“The Airports Authority of India has cancelled the agreements with Air Odisha for its poor performance. From 20 November, they will not be permitted to operate from these seven airports. They have failed to operate the minimum 70 percent of the scheduled flights from these airports within a period of three months,” Jharsuguda’s Veer Surendra Sai Airport director SK Chauhan told IANS.

In March 2017, the AAI had given permission to five carriers to operate services in 128 routes in the first phase of UDAN scheme. Currently, 54 of the routes given to SpiceJet and Alliance Air are operational.

IndiGo and Jet Airways also operate UDAN flights since they were given licences in Phase II of the programme, the report said.

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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2018 18:02:25 IST

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