Mumbai: Regional carrier TruJet, which has bagged 18 routes under the Centre UDAN scheme, aims to raise its fleet size to up to eight aircraft by March 2018 besides increasing the number of flights to nearly 50 per day by this year end, a top company official said.
Promoted by Turbo Megha Airways, the Hyderabad-based airline currently operates 31 flights, including four under Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme, to eight destinations with a fleet of five ATR planes.
UDAN is a regional air connectivity scheme (RCS) which seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports. “We currently have five ATR aircraft in our fleet but only four of them are in operations. We are going to have some 7-8 planes in the fleet by this financial year,” Turbo Megha Airways founder and Managing Director of V Umesh told PTI here.
Umesh said TruJet was expecting to operate close to 50 flights per day by December, adding, “We are looking to launch all 18 routes under the regional connectivity scheme by the end of next month.” The airline has already commenced services on Hyderabad-Kadapa, Hyderabad-Nanded and Nanded-Mumbai routes under the scheme.
He said the airline was not looking to add flights or any new destination in the forthcoming winter season other than what is in the current schedule, which has taken into account the flights to be launched by September on the RCS routes. The winter schedule of the airlines in India begins from October-end and goes up to March-end. In the first round of bidding under the RCS, TruJet was one of the five operators who have been awarded 128 routes.
Air India’s regional subsidiary Alliance Air, budget carrier SpiceJet and two non-scheduled operators -- Deccan Charters and Air Odisha -- are the other carriers which have been mandated to fly to unserved and underserved airports. TruJet, which commenced services in July 2015, is at present the only regional player in operation from south India after the grounding of Air Pegasus, Air Costa and Air Carnival.
Umesh said his airline is likely to break even by this fiscal, adding, “At present, we are close to making operating profit.” However, he refused to comment on the ongoing negotiations between TruJet and Jet Airways for acquiring some of the ATR planes of the Mumbai-based carrier. The Naresh Goyal-owned carrier currently has 15 ATR72- 500 planes in its fleet.
However, according to an industry source the talks between the two airlines are at an “advanced” stage and a decision on the issue is expected by this week. Jet Airways declined to comment on the issue. “As a policy, Jet Airways does not comment on speculation,” the private airline said in a statement.
Updated Date: Aug 21, 2017 13:02 PM