With no commitment coming from private carriers to join the ambitious regional connectivity scheme (RCS), the National Democratic Alliance government may bring in Air India Regional to operationalise the scheme aimed at bringing air travel to remote areas.
Started as Alliance Air in 1996, the carrier was a low-cost arm of the erstwhile Indian Airlines and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India following the historic merger of the two state-run airlines.
A senior official from the ministry of civil aviation, requesting anonymity, said that Air India would be asked to operate small ATR planes on some of the RCS routes in the initial stage to create demand.
The official explained that similar steps were taken in the past and private airlines had followed where Air India had been the sole carrier.
“We expect private airlines to join sooner or later once Air India flies to those smaller airports. It would create demand in the adjoining areas or even in other parts, if the national carrier is able to make it to just one of the destinations in a particular state,” the official said.
The state-run carrier could also be asked to dry-lease more small aircraft for the regional push as private carriers in India don’t have too many of these machines in their respective fleets, he added.
Under a dry lease, only aircraft is provided by the lessor. However, if crew is also provided by the lessor, then it is called a wet lease. J.R. Sweezy Authentic Jersey