Indian Civil Aviation : News , Updates & Discussions

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The C-NM5 from CSIR-NAL and Mahindra Aerospace makes its maiden flight
Milestone event for India’s first public-private partnership in aircraft development

September 14, 2011, Mumbai: The C-NM5 has flown!



India's CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL – a constituent laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), and Mahindra Aerospace (a part of India’s US $12.5 billion Mahindra Group) today announced the successful maiden flight of their jointly developed C-NM5 aircraft, marking an important milestone in their collaborative aircraft development programme.


The programme is India's first public-private partnership in the development of aircraft, and this milestone event is the result of teamwork across three development teams – CSIR-NAL, Mahindra Aerospace and GippsAero (a Mahindra Aerospace subsidiary in Australia).

Engineers from CSIR-NAL and Mahindra Aerospace spent close to three years designing this all-new aircraft using cutting-edge design and analysis tools. The prototype was built over a 10 month period by the rapid prototyping team at GippsAero in their facilities near Melbourne, Australia. Flight testing is being performed at GippsAero by a professionally-trained test pilot supported by GippsAero’s flight test team.


The 45-minute first flight on the 1st of September tested basic handling of the aircraft. Subsequent flights have evaluated aircraft stability and control in different flight regimes. Developmental flight testing and evaluations are continuing, with the ultimate objective of achieving Type Certification in keeping with international regulatory standards, followed by a global sales and marketing programme.


The C-NM5 is a 5-seat all-metal aircraft powered by a Lycoming IO-540 engine, and features non-retractable landing gear and a spacious cabin with large access doors. The cabin interior is reconfigurable to adapt the aircraft to different roles, while simplicity of systems and ease of maintenance are design drivers throughout the aircraft. The C-NM5 thus complements Mahindra Aerospace's growing family of light utility aircraft that are designed to meet the latest global standards, while operating in environments with limited infrastructure at extremely low costs per seat mile.


“It is our privilege to announce an important milestone in the C-NM5 programme with the first flight of the prototype in Australia which was undertaken by Mahindra. This is not only a pioneering public-private partnership for India, but also symbolizes the globalized nature of the technological knowledge pool from which we can all draw from and contribute to, leading to execution excellence” said Prof. Samir Brahmachari, Director General, CSIR, and Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India



“It gives us great pride to see our first indigenous effort, the C-NM5, developed along with the CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, complete its maiden flight. A partnership that will enable India to Rise – to the skies! This project is part of Mahindra’s goal to provide transportation and connectivity solutions to communities everywhere. My congratulations to our teams in India and Australia for successfully executing India’s first public-private partnership in aircraft development,” said Mr. Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra Group.


“I am delighted to see  the CSIR-NAL + MAPL partnership deliver the fruits of their endeavour in a manner that augurs well for more such projects and  which will  provide the impetus for the development of a world class indigenous  aerospace industry in India . I look forward to building on the pioneering efforts of my predecessor Dr. Upadhyaya who mentored this partnership” said Mr Shyam Shetty, Director CSIR-NAL.


“The C-NM5's first flight symbolizes our commitment to taking a concept from dream to reality. This is the first flight on a journey which we hope will take us far into the utility aircraft space and help us fulfil a need in developing economies world-wide. A journey that would not have come as far,  were it not for the teamwork between  our strong technological partners, CSIR-NAL,  our experienced colleagues in Mahindra Aerospace and its Australian subsidiary GippsAero” said Mr. Hemant Luthra, Chairman, Mahindra Aerospace Pvt. Ltd.

Source : www.mahindra.com/news-room/press-release/1315985243
 
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NAL Saras



In the mid-1980s, the Research Council recommended that the NAL should study the civil aviation requirements of India and recommended ways of establishing a viable civil aviation industry. It further recommended that the NAL should carry out a formal techno-economical feasibility study of a multi role light transport aircraft (LTA – renamed SARAS in October 1993). The feasibility study (November 1989) showed that there was a significant demand for a 9–14 seat multi-role LTA in the country and estimated a market potential of about 250–350 aircraft in the next 10 years. NAL submitted the feasibility study report to the Research Council in November 1990 and started its search for an industrial partner.

The project began in 1991 as a collaboration with Russia (Myasishchev had a similar project called the Duet), but financial trouble led the Russians to drop out early in the project. The project almost came to a halt when it was hit by US-imposed sanctions in 1998, after India's nuclear tests in Pokhran. The Saras project was sanctioned on 24 September 1999 with initial schedule of its maiden flight by March 2001.

The original design target parameters included a maximum take-off weight of 6,100 kg and a maximum payload of 1,232 kg, a high cruise speed of over 600 km/h, an endurance of six hours, a maximum flight altitude of 12 km (cruise altitude 10.5 km), short take-off and landing distances of about 600 m, a maximum rate of climb of 12 m/s, a low cabin noise of 78 dB, a range of 600 km with 19 passengers, 1,200 km with 14 passengers and 2,000 km with eight passengers, a high specific range of 2.5 km/kg and a low cost of operation of ₹ 5/km.

The first Saras (PT1) completed its maiden flight at the HAL airport in Bangalore on 29 May 2004.

While the designed empty weight of the aircraft is around 4,125 kg, the first prototype weighed in around 5,118 kg. This issue is sought to be addressed by including composite wings and tail by the third prototype. The airframe of Saras-PT2 was built with lighter composites to reduce its overall weight by about 400 kg from its first prototype, which was overweight by about 900 kg. The aircraft is powered by two Canadian Pratt & Whitney turbo-prop engines mounted in the pusher configuration.

The first prototype will be upgraded to meet the latest design criteria including higher-power 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67A engines and improvements to the flight control and flight operations systems. The upgraded PT1 is due to make its first flight by the end of 2011 leading to certification and first deliveries in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

The IAF has signed up with National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore for the purchase of 15 Saras aircraft. “NAL signed a memorandum of understanding with IAF to sell 15 Saras aircraft. The Kanpur unit of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will manufacture these planes,” The 14-seater twin-engine aircraft would be used for coastal surveillance as well as training young cadets on transport flying. The second prototype of the aircraft is overweight by 500 kg against the specified design weight of 4125 kg. The third prototype has yet to take flight.

As of 20 January 2016 National Aeronautics Limited (NAL) has stopped all work on Saras as the funding for the project stopped by end of 2013. Engineers who were working on NAL Saras got redeployed to other ongoing similar projects with higher strategic importance.

NAL is hoping to revive funding for the project. In October 2016, it was reported that government is mulling a revival plan. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), that had almost shelved the plan, is on a rethink mode with additional funding in the pipeline.

As of Feb 14 2017, reconfigured first prototype has just been handed over to the IAF’s Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), which has conducted a few low-speed ground runs. The National Aerospace Lab’s (NAL) director Jitendra J. Jadhav is said to be looking at putting the Saras back into the air by June–July, though officers on the programme seem to think August–September was a more likely timeframe.

Specifications:

General characteristics
  • Crew: 3 (Pilot, Co-Pilot, Flight Engineer)
  • Capacity: 14 passengers
  • Length: 15.02 m (49.28 ft)
  • Wingspan: 14.70 m (48.23 ft)
  • Height: 5.20 m (17.06 ft)
  • Useful load: 1,232 kg (2,710 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 7,100 kg (15,653 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67A turboprop, 1200 shp (895 kW) each
  • Propellers: 5-blade constant speed MT-Propellers propeller, 1 per engine
    • Propeller diameter: 2.65 m ()
Performance:

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India's Homegrown 14-Seat Passenger Plane 'Saras' To Fly Again, First Flight Expected In June



The re-engined and modified version of India's ambitious 14-seater Saras aircraft is gearing up for its first flight in June first week.

Having received a thrust from the government under the regional connectivity policy, Bengaluru-based National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL) has handed over the aircraft to Indian Air Force's (IAF) Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) for test flights.

First conceived as a civil aircraft, NAL has been pushing Saras for military certification in the past two years, hoping to sell it to the Indian Air Force (IAF). Saras will now boast of multi-role capabilities like feeder line aircraft, air ambulance, executive aircraft, troop transport, reconnaissance, aerial survey and light cargo transport.

The original design included a maximum takeoff weight of 6,100kg and a maximum payload of 1,232kg. The first prototype which completed its maiden flight on May 29, 2004, was overweight at 5,118kg compared to the 4,125kg design specifications.



Even as modifications to make the aircraft airworthy were taken up, the June 6, 2009 crash forced the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to ground the aircraft. The prototype crashed after catching fire in Sheshagiri Halli, near Bidadi, about 30km from Bengaluru. It claimed the lives of three ASTE pilots.

NAL Director Jitendra J Jadhav told TOI on Monday: "The engine tests have already begun. The low-speed taxi and high-speed taxi trials are expected to be completed by the end of this month. After that, the ASTE will do the first flight most probably in the first week of June."

Sources in ASTE, while stating that the completion of the ground tests is followed by a flight, however, said: "We will need to get the go-ahead from the safety review board and the first flight review board."

According to NAL, manufacturing of two Limited Series Prototypes of Saras will require Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore. "The final product will be taken care of by the IAF, but we will need this amount for the prototypes," Jadhav said.

19-seater plane


In February, Union science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan and Jadhav made a joint announcement that a new version of Saras would be converted into a 19-seater aircraft.

Harsh Vardhan promised NAL complete support, including any financial requirement. Jadhav said on Monday: "A proposal has been sent to our (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) headquarters and a feasibility study is complete."

The new proposal will see Saras with a configurable configuration. While the design is for a 14-seater plane, it can be configured to accommodate 19 persons.

Source: www.indiatimes.com/news/india/india-s-homegrown-14-seat-passenger-plane-saras-to-fly-again-first-flight-expected-in-june-321364.html
 
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HAL/NAL Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA)

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RTA-70 Regional Transport Aircraft


Recognising the business opportunities offered by the growth of Civil Aviation, HAL has embarked on a programme for the coproduction of 50-70 seater aircraft with a partner, and is also slated with partners for co development and manufacture of 100 seater aircraft. In early 2007 it was reported that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) were planning to jointly design and develop a 70-seater civil regional aircraft. Its development cost could run to Rs.4,000 crore and will roll out for certification in six to seven years. The aircraft will cater to regional routes, having a range of around 600 km to 800 km. HAL and the NAL had not decided on aspects such as work share, funding, and even whether the aircraft will have a turbo-prop or turbo jet engine. NAL had held discussions with Pratt and Whitney (Canada) and General Electric (U.S.) for an engine.

The two organisations estimated that over the next 20 years there would be a requirement for around 400 aircraft from both the defence services and civil airlines for regional aircraft of this size. While the Services were looking to replace Dornier, Avro and AN-32 fleets, the growing domestic aviation sector would need to acquire additional regional aircraft of this size. The NAL-designed RTA-70 is meant to ply short-haul routes and compete with planes of French-Italian aircraft maker Avions de Transport Régional (ATR), a leading exporter of turbo-prop aircraft to the Indian sub-continent.

In August 2007 the program director of the country's first self-built aircraft SARAS said India might fly its own indigenously built 70-seater civilian aircraft in another seven to eight years. "We are already in the planning stages for a 70-seater aircraft. In another seven to eight years, we should be flying our own big aircraft," SARAS program director MS Chidananda stated.
A meeting was held on the 29 February 2008 with the Directors and senior scientists of various laboratories/institutes of CSIR, DRDO, DAE. The meeting was intended to appraise the various R & D organizations of the technology needs of the Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA 70). Dr Kota Harinarayana had joined NAL as a Raja Ramanna Fellow and was spearheading the Regional Transport Aircraft project. Dr Kota Harinarayana presented an overview of the regional transport aircraft program detailing the need for a new generation aircraft based on a market demand for an aircraft with low fuel burn, ownership and maintenance costs. Technologies required in the form of a laminar flow wing, hydrophobic coatings, use of low cost composites, fly-by-wire controls, advanced avionics that will enable use of ill-equipped airfields, integrated vehicle health monitoring etc. Presentations from NAL scientists and consultants from the RTA group followed on RTA aerodynamics, super hydrophobic coatings, morphing and the use of SMA for high lift devices and maintenance for civil aircraft. On the airframe, presentations on structural technologies required, use of piezo and SMA related smart materials for flutter and gust control, structural topology, structural health monitoring (SHM) and low cost composites were made. Architectures for avionics, active noise control systems flight control systems (fly by wire) and synthetic vision were described. Utility systems including ECS, all electric systems etc, were also described.

In August 2008 former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam said that India can produce small passenger jets by 2020. For this, India needs to make optimum use of its technology in the aero-space sector. Kalam, popularly called the father of India's missle program, was addressing a gathering of students at Amity University in Nodia. "India has to work for 70-seater aircraft. It should be so designed that with only change in fuselage length it could vary the passenger capacity to 50 or 90.... With the technology available, production of 70-seater passenger aircraft before 2020 is possible. This will lead to a business volume of $15 billion," Dr Kalam said.

In October 2008 the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which audits and assists the state and central institutions on their accounts and accountability, told the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) defer plans to make a 70-seater passenger plane on account of delayed progress on its 15-seater Saras aircraft. "Keeping in view the problems faced by NAL in HANSA and SARAS projects relating to marketing of the aircrafts, difficulties in finding an industrial partner and lack of specialised manpower, NAL may review initiation of the new project for development of a 70 seater aircraft."

In September 2008 India embarked on its second project to develop an indigenous 70 to 110-seater regional transport aircraft. At a meeting chaired by Defence Minister A.K. Antony it was decided to undertake the project with foreign collaboration, with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. playing the anchor role. Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Secretary - Pradeep Kumar, Private Secretary to Prime Minister T.K.A. Nair, Space Commission chairman G. Madhvan Nair, HAL chairman Ashok Baweja and representatives of the Defence Research and Development Organisation - and the civil aviation ministry also attended the meeting.

The proposed aircraft will have 70 to 110 seats and a range of 3,000 km. The aircraft will be developed keeping in mind the regional and domestic traffic. Estimated to cost Rs.40 billion, the aircraft will be developed within six years of the details being finalised. While the foreign collaborator has not yet been identified, it could be Brazil's Embraer or China's Avic, both of which manufacture regional transport aircraft. This is the second time India is venturing into the sector after an agreement with Russia to develop a Medium Transport Aircraft that has both military and civilian applications.
NAL displayed its indigenous aircraft and the scaled models at INDIA AVIATION : 2008 held at Begumpet airport, Hyderabad between 15 -18 October 2008. The mock up models of Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA 70) and size to size mockup model of NM5 aircraft were also displayed at the exhibition in HALL B number 14 of the NAL stall.

Source: www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/india/rta-70.htm
 
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Government considering developing own civilian aircraft: Official
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
By: ET



The government is considering manufacturing civilian aircraft and would like to move ahead with the plan "very fast", a civil aviation ministry official said today.

The country's domestic aviation market is one of the fastest growing in the world and has registered high double digit growth for more than two years.

Many airlines are embarking on ambitious expansion plans and authorities are working on developing new airports to cater to the rising demand as well as boosting regional air connectivity.

"We are considering manufacturing our own civilian aircraft... definitely, the concept is there and we are looking for smaller aircraft like a 20-seater which can be used within the country and this also is supported by our policy of Make in India," said Shefali Juneja, Director at the Civil Aviation ministry.

Currently, aircraft are imported or taken on lease from overseas lessors.

"Developing our own civilian aircraft is something we are considering... and is something which we need to move forward very fast," she said.

She was speaking at the 'ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit' here.

In efforts to strengthen air connectivity between India and ASEAN nations, a civil aviation task force is being developed to encourage consultations between the countries.

Under the ASEAN-India cooperation framework, a joint working group is being set up and it would initially focus on safety and security aspects, besides air navigation services.

The first meeting of the joint working group is to be held in January 2018, Juneja said.

At present, there are no air services between India and four ASEAN countries -- Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines and Lao-PDR.

Listing out the challenges in the India-ASEAN aviation market, Juneja also said there is "only one-sided operation by ASEAN carriers in India-Myanmar, India-Indonesia, India- Vietnam markets".

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has 10 members, including include Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei.

The summit was jointly organised by industry body CII and ASEAN India Centre.

Source: www.economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/transportation/airlines-/-aviation/government-considering-developing-own-civilian-aircraft-official/articleshow/62025357.cms
 

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Civil aviation: Indian aviation market will surpass US and China in 15-20 years: Jayant Sinha

SRINAGAR: India's aviation market would surpass the US and China by crossing a billion passenger trips per year in the next 10 to 15 years, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said here today.
Sinha, who was speaking at the day-long Ideas Summit 2017 of entrepreneurs here, said the aviation industry now equaled the Indian Railways in terms of turnover as it generated a total revenue of about Rs 1.8 lakh crore this fiscal.
"The growth in aviation sector is unprecedented. In the last three-four years, we have actually been growing at 15-20 per cent. From 100 million passenger trips a few years ago we will double to about 200 million passenger trips this fiscal. In fact, India is already the third largest domestic aviation market in the world only after the US and China," he said.
The US stood at around 900 million passenger trips per year and China was at 600 million, Sinha said, adding that projections point at India growing to a one billion passenger trips market in the next 15-20 years.
"So, from 500 planes in the sky, we will have to go to about 2000 planes," Sinha said at the event organised by the Foundation for Resource Development and Education at SKICC.
The Union minister said aviation was going to be one of the largest industries in India and airlines had placed orders for over 900 planes.
"If you think that we are just making up these numbers, let me tell you that today our airlines have already placed orders for 935 planes," he said.
He said the government is trying to spread air connectivity throughout the country. "We have grown the aviation sector to see the PM's dream of 'sab udenge, sab judenge' being realised," he said.
The minister said the aviation industry generated a turnover of about Rs 1.8 lakh crore this fiscal which is equal to that of the Indian Railways.
"Today the airline industry is as big as the Indian Railways and the Indian telecom industry," he said.
In 2014, the country had about 75 operational airports and through the regional connectivity scheme 'Udaan', the government added 25 more airports to the aviation network this year and now there are 100 operational airports, Sinha said. "For J-K, you will probably have five or six more airports," he added.

Indian aviation market will surpass US and China in 15-20 years: Jayant Sinha
 

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Upgraded Saras PT1N all set for maiden flight in January
By: By Anantha Krishnan M
December 26, 2017, 08:44 PM IST
Bengaluru: National Aeronautics Laboratories (NAL), a frontline wing under Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) here, is ready to put the upgraded prototype of Saras on its maiden flight.The Saras PT1N (New), a 14-seater passenger plane, is expected to have its first flight after completing one more high speed taxi trial (HSTT).Military sources confirm to Mathrubhumi that the first flight will be about 20-25 minutes.Two Test Pilots and one Flight Test Engineer, who are empanelled to the PT1N project from Indian Air Force’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), will be onboard the maiden mission.The first flight could be any time during the first/second week of January 2018.What separates the PT1N now from the maiden flight are a SRB (Safety Review Board) and one final HSTT.A young team of around 40 scientists and engineers, with an average age of 40 years, have been toiling hard for the last nine months to ensure Saras does what it is meant to be doing -- flying.The project had virtually hit a dead end after the March 2009 crash of PT-2 martyring three ASTE crew onboard. The subsequent crash probe, lack of confidence among users, want of funds and political will further dented the project.The aircraft was grounded for close to three years (2013-2016) barring namesake EGRs to keep the power-plant in good shape.The resurgence of Saras project as PT1N has now given hope for India’s foray into making 14/19-seater passenger turboprops, with China, Russia, Poland, Indonesia and United States have already gone some distance.In the new avatar as PT1N, it boasts of many upgraded features, following a gap analysis undertaken last year.

A close look at what PT1N looks like* The control forces have been significantly reduced.
* The nacelle design (for engine mount) has been made optimal.
* Environmental control systems, cabin pressurization systems have been modified.
* Automatic avionics stall warning system included.
* Linear flap track and trim taps on elevator modified.
* Rudder area enhanced for better controllability.
* Flight test instrumentation modified.
* Electrical systems modified to reduce voltage losses.
* Air data system has been provided with the nose boom for redundancy.Apart from above modification on the aircraft, the following additional safety measures have also been ensured by the team.
* Complete borosopic inspection of the aircraft to eliminate any doubts about corrosion.
* Computer-based failure analysis of engine, elevator jamming and ailerons power adequacy.
* Simulator upgraded to the high-fidelity.The NAL-ASTE combine’s primary objective with PT-1N is to evaluate all systems, including design and performance parameters. The inputs collected from PT1N’s initial flights (expected to be around 20-30 in the next six months), will be then used to freeze the design, paving way for the production version.

India’s 19-seater dream will be Saras Mk-2PT-IN flight data will inspire NAL to prepare the DPR (detail project report) for India’s much-awaited 19-seater passenger plane – Saras Mk2.The Saras Mk2 will have additional five more seats and a toilet as compared to the PT1N. It will also have gen-next avionics and glass cockpit, autopilot and other features any modern passenger turboprop could boast off.The Saras Mk2 with reduced weight (around 700 kg compared to PT1N) will have an AUW (all up-weight) of roughly around 7.4 to 7.5 ton and will likely to run on MRF tyres.

Both military and passenger platformsSources confirm that NAL plans to have both military and passenger version for the 19-seater. They hope to encash on the CEMILAC-DGCA’s certification model used in ALH, to save time.As of now, two production variants are planned while the third one will be a fatigue test specimen (FTS) – all estimated to costing around Rs 700 crore.In the last one year, NAL put some of its best workforce behind the Saras project with many slogging it out day and night.Insiders say only less than Rs 5 core has been spent in the last one year for Saras PT-IN, thanks to lean management philosophy, optimum usage of resources and constant monitoring.With CSIR backing the project after some hiccups, Saras is sure to be India’s star in 2018 with IAF offering all support to the desi mission once again. CSIR DG Dr Girish Sahni’s push for the Saras PT1N/19-seater, and the Udan mantra of Govt of India also have come as a blessing for team NAL.Subject to the Cabinet Committee on Security approval, the detail design of the first limited series production (LSP) variant of Saras-Mk-2 should begin in 2019 followed by certification and demonstration flights by 2021.In short, in three years NAL will have its handful with Saras once again back on the radar.(The writer is a Content Consultant with Mathrubhumi (English Online) and tweets @writetake.)


Source:Upgraded Saras PT1N all set for maiden flight in January| National Aeronautics Laboratories | Saras | Mathrubhumi Online
 
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Made in India Dornier 228 aircraft gets DGCA nod for civilian flight

In what is a major development for the Indian aviation sector, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has given a thumbs up to HAL-manufactured Dornier 228 aircraft being used for civilian flight, according to a report by Times of India.

The Dornier Do 228 is currently being used by the Indian armed forces and is capable of carrying 19 passengers at a time.

The aircraft can be used for regional flights, especially for shorter distances, and will act as a boost to the government’s UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.

The UDAN scheme is intended to develop regional airports in the country and increase regional connectivity so that every common citizen can fly to his or her destination.

Since the HAL-made Dornier Do 228 is designed for military use, the civilian version of the aircraft will come with a few modifications here and there. However, the body structure is expected to remain the same.

The twin-engine aircraft, which is manufactured at HAL’s Kanpur facility, will become the first made-in-India aircraft in the country to be used for civilian flight.

The Kanpur-based Transport Aircraft Division of HAL is capable of manufacturing, maintaining, modifying and upgrading light transport aircraft and trainer aircraft for both domestic and international markets.

According to the TOI report, HAL may sell the Dornier 228 to neighbouring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka, apart from making it for local carriers.

The Dornier Do 228 is likely to be used for connecting regional airports in undeveloped regions across the country that are not covered by the larger aircraft carriers.

The aircraft is powered by a Garrett TPE 331-5-252D engine with a maximum cruise speed of 428 kmph and consumes 213 kg fuel for every hour of flight.

Going by the information on HAL’s website, the aircraft can be used for pollution-preventing activities, maritime surveillance, aerial survey of a region, casualty evacuation from disaster-stuck areas and search and rescue operations.

As of February 2015, HAL had manufactured 125 Dornier Do 228 aircraft, having bought the production licence from Dornier GmbH in 1981.

Made in India Dornier 228 aircraft gets DGCA nod for civilian flight
 
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RISING SUN

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SpiceJet gets India’s ‘Best Domestic Airline’ award at Wings India 2018
SpiceJet has been awarded India’s Best Domestic Airline award at the Wings India Awards for Excellence in the Aviation Sector organised by the ministry of civil aviation, government of India and FICCI.

The award ceremony was held in Hyderabad on March 8 on the sidelines “Wings India 2018”, India’s flagship event on civil aviation sector. The biennial event is being held at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad from 8-11 March with the theme “India - Global Aviation Hub”.

A jury of prominent aviation luminaries headed by former civil aviation secretary and Chief Election Commissioner of India, Nasim Zaidi selected the winners. Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet received the award.

SpiceJet’s remarkable turnaround and growth story – twelve successive profitable quarters, record aircraft orders, industry’s highest load factor for 34 successive months and high on-time performance – has made the aviation world sit up and take notice.

Ajay Singh – CMD, SpiceJet said, “I am honoured to receive this award. This is a recognition of SpiceJet’s spectacular comeback. This award belongs to each and every SpiceJetter who has worked with such passion and dedication in the last three years.

SpiceJet operates India’s largest regional fleet and is the only organized operator in this space. With the objective of further enhancing connectivity to smaller towns and cities, SpiceJet placed an order for up to 50 Bombardier Q400 turboprop airliners valued at $1.7 billion, making it the largest single order ever for the Q400 turboprop aircraft program.

SpiceJet has also placed an order for up to 205 Boeing 737MAX and wide-bodied aircraft – the biggest single order placed by an Indian airline in Boeing’s history valued at over $22 billion. The new planes start to join the fleet in August this year.
SpiceJet gets India’s ‘Best Domestic Airline’ award at Wings India 2018 - Times of India
 

RISING SUN

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SpiceJet gets India’s ‘Best Domestic Airline’ award at Wings India 2018
SpiceJet has been awarded India’s Best Domestic Airline award at the Wings India Awards for Excellence in the Aviation Sector organised by the ministry of civil aviation, government of India and FICCI.

The award ceremony was held in Hyderabad on March 8 on the sidelines “Wings India 2018”, India’s flagship event on civil aviation sector. The biennial event is being held at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad from 8-11 March with the theme “India - Global Aviation Hub”.

A jury of prominent aviation luminaries headed by former civil aviation secretary and Chief Election Commissioner of India, Nasim Zaidi selected the winners. Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet received the award.

SpiceJet’s remarkable turnaround and growth story – twelve successive profitable quarters, record aircraft orders, industry’s highest load factor for 34 successive months and high on-time performance – has made the aviation world sit up and take notice.

Ajay Singh – CMD, SpiceJet said, “I am honoured to receive this award. This is a recognition of SpiceJet’s spectacular comeback. This award belongs to each and every SpiceJetter who has worked with such passion and dedication in the last three years.

SpiceJet operates India’s largest regional fleet and is the only organized operator in this space. With the objective of further enhancing connectivity to smaller towns and cities, SpiceJet placed an order for up to 50 Bombardier Q400 turboprop airliners valued at $1.7 billion, making it the largest single order ever for the Q400 turboprop aircraft program.

SpiceJet has also placed an order for up to 205 Boeing 737MAX and wide-bodied aircraft – the biggest single order placed by an Indian airline in Boeing’s history valued at over $22 billion. The new planes start to join the fleet in August this year.
SpiceJet gets India’s ‘Best Domestic Airline’ award at Wings India 2018 - Times of India
@Abingdonboy FYI Spice story!!!
 

RISING SUN

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First commercial flight lands at Sikkim's Pakyong Airport
A SpiceJet commercial flight made a successful landing at the Pakyong Airport in Sikkim for the first time on Saturday. It was the first civil fixed-wing flight to land in Sikkim and paved the way for further growth of tourism in the State.

A Spicejet Q400 Bombardier landed successfully at the newly constructed Pakyong Airport on a trial run. The turboprop plane with 70-passenger capacity took off from Kolkata Airport at 10.40 am and reached the Pakyong Airport at noon.

Tourism hotspot Sikkim's first airport was ready to roll out the runway carpet for direct ATR flights from Kolkata and Delhi early this year causing a flutter among the early birds seeking slots to connect Gangtok by air.

Pakyong Airport, near the Sikkim capital, is 4,600ft above sea level and final inspection gave green signal for flight operation.

"Our infrastructure is in place. We have got the X-Ray machine and other equipment installed. The food court is also ready. Today's successful landing marks new beginning for Sikkim's aviation," an official of AAI said from Pakyong.

SpiceJet had bid for flying rights from the airport under the Centre's regional connectivity scheme called UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik). "We have bid for both Calcutta and Delhi. Sikkim is a very popular tourist destination," a SpiceJet official said on Saturday.
First commercial flight lands at Sikkim's Pakyong Airport - Times of India ►
 

Bali78

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Dec 26, 2017
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India badly needs to develop high speed railway network within next 15-20 years. Considering the high population density and lack of space, new airports will be pushed farther and farther from city centers and that will make air travel inefficient for short and medium duration flights. After Ahmedabad-Mumbai, government should consider Chennai - Bangalore - Hyderabad route.

Indian airports stretched as passengers reach new heights
 
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Himanshu

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India's Jet Airways to Purchase 75 Boeing 737 MAX Planes Worth $8.8 Billion



The Indian aviation sector is growing at an average annual rate of 15-20 percent. US manufacturer Boeing expects the world's fastest-growing aviation market to order as many as 2,100 planes, worth $290 billion, over the next 20 years.

New Delhi (Sputnik): Jet Airways India Ltd is acquiring 75 Boeing 737 Max aircraft worth approximately $8.8 billion; the Indian company informed investors on Tuesday. This is in accordance with the company's long-term plans, it says, and will allow it to further strengthen its position in the world's fastest-growing aviation market.

"This is to inform you that the company has entered into an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 75 Boeing 737 Max aircraft," Jet Airways India Ltd stated.

The company had discussing purchasing 75-100 single-aisle planes with Boeing for a long time. Another Indian company, SpiceJet, had ordered more than 200 narrow-body aircraft from Boeing. However, IndiGo, the country's largest private airline, is the biggest buyer of Airbus SE's A320neo jets.

The Indian government estimates that the country's aviation market will cross one billion passenger trips per year in the next 15-20 years in comparison to around 900 million passenger trips per year in the US and 600 million in China.

Currently, the Indian aviation market is dominated by aircraft that feature a capacity of as many as 180 seats, which are mostly manufactured by Boeing Co. and Airbus Group SE. Russian manufacturer Irkut also expects to enter the Indian market with its Sukhoi Superjet-100 and MS-21 planes. Irkut has proposed to manufacture civilian planes in India in order to outdo its Western rivals.
 

Amal

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Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati to get new airport terminal buildings! This Rs 5,000 crore is a big boost

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said the new terminal building approved for the Chennai airport at Rs 2,467 crore will have a capacity to handle 35 million passengers per annum and take care of the growth requirement till 2027.

By: PTI | Updated: May 3, 2018 11:01 AM



In a major step towards augmentation of aviation infrastructure in the country, the Centre today approved a proposal to build new terminal buildings at the Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati airports at an estimated cost of over 5,000 crore.

The proposal was approved by the Union Cabinet which met here today.

The aviation sector in the country is currently growing at well over 20 per cent and touched 28 per cent in March, with 1.16 crore Indians making flight journeys during the month.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said the new terminal building approved for the Chennai airport at Rs 2,467 crore will have a capacity to handle 35 million passengers per annum and take care of the growth requirement till 2027.

Likewise, the new terminal building at Lucknow will have an annual capacity of 13.6 million passengers and will cater to the passenger growth requirements up to 2030-31. It will be built at a cost of Rs 1,232 crore and will be a major force multiplier towards UP’s growth, the minister tweeted.

The new terminal building at Guwahati will be built at a cost of Rs 1,383 crore and will have a capacity to handle nine million passengers per annum.

“It (the new terminal) will give a major thrust to our ‘Act East’ policy and to tourism in NE India,” Prabhu said.

“We remain committed to augmenting the airport capacity and facilities to match the 20 per cent passenger growth rate and for constantly improving your air-travel experience under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, he said.

Last month, the aviation market grew close to 30 per cent. Therefore, the need of the hour is to keep pace with growth and ensure better facilities in airports. If the airports do not grow as fast as the aviation sector is growing, there will be a big challenge at hand, Prabhu said.
 
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RISING SUN

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The Cheapest Airfare to New York From Delhi Is Via Iceland

  • Wow Air to start $199, no-frills flights in December
  • Tickets to cost less than half of Emirates Airline fares



Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images

For millions of Indians flying West every year, there’s a new airline in town. And, it’s ultra cheap.
Iceland’s trans-Atlantic carrier Wow Air Ehf, which offers low-cost flights via its hub in Reykjavik, is entering India with tickets to the U.S. at $199 starting Dec. 7. That would be the first no-frills option to passengers traveling from the South Asian nation to North America’s eastern seaboard.

Wow Air’s tickets on Airbus SE A330neo aircraft will be priced at half of what full-service carriers like Dubai-based Emirates offer, Chief Executive Officer Skuli Mogensen said in an interview in New Delhi on Tuesday. The fares aren’t just introductory, he said.

“If you look at flights from India to North America, they actually go directly above Iceland,” Mogensen said. “So Iceland is the perfect hub for India to North America traffic. It has a superior connecting time than what people currently use -- London, Dubai, Frankfurt or Amsterdam.”

Wow Air is elbowing its way into a market long dominated by Middle Eastern carriers like Emirates and Etihad Airways PJSC, which have used their nearby hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to lure Indians flying West. Wow Air could also get an early-mover advantage in the world’s fastest growing major aviation market, where local budget carriers like IndiGo, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., and SpiceJet Ltd. are firming up plans to start low-cost, long haul operations.

Emirates, United
Middle-eastern carriers typically offer one of the cheapest fares from India to the U.S. For a flight to New York from New Delhi on June 15, Turkish Airlines was offering the cheapest fare at $420 with a stop in Istanbul, while Emirates was for $510. Air India Ltd. had the cheapest non-stop flight at $660. United Airlines sold tickets at $940, according to online travel agent MakeMyTrip.com.

Flying passengers across continents and oceans for a fraction of a cost is fast emerging as the next big thing in aviation. Once ridiculed in the industry, the budget model for long-haul flights have gained global traction in recent times, with the rise of a slew of carriers like Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, which transformed itself from flying winter-weary Scandinavians to southern Europe to a global behemoth connecting Oslo to New York and Stockholm to Bangkok.

India will overtake U.K. to become the third-largest aviation market with 278 million passengers by 2025, according to International Air Transport Association. The market will contribute $172 billion to the nation’s economy, more than doubling from the current $72 billion, according to IATA.

Here’s what Wow Air is offering:
  • The New Delhi-Reykjavik leg would take about 10.5 hours, and another 5.5 hours to New York after a two-hour lay over
  • Of the total 365 seats in the aircraft, 42 would be premium
  • All luggage barring a laptop-sized bag will be charged additionally, except for some premium-class seats
  • The carrier will offer connections to 15 North American cities including Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco from India, apart from connecting flights to European cities
Wow! The Cheapest Airfare to New York From Delhi Is Via Iceland
 

RISING SUN

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Same-day nod for flights of foreign business jets to India soon
It will soon be easier for international business magnates to fly in and out of India in their private jets, without waiting for the clearance for a long time.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has proposed same-day clearance for foreign-registered private planes and charter jets to fly to India and has sent this recommendation to the aviation ministry. Since security clearance for such flights is essential, the regulator's proposal will be referred to the committee of secretaries for clearance. Sources say this issue, long a bug bear with foreign business leaders, is likely to be cleared while taking care of the security implications.

This is the second move by the B S Bhullar-headed DGCA to make it easier for private planes and charter jets to fly in and out of the country. A few months back, the regulator had removed the pre-condition of taking clearance from the regulatory agency (called YA number) for Indian-registered charter flight or private jets to fly out of the country. Operators of Indian-registered charter planes now simply need to file the flight plan with air traffic control and operate their flights.

In the second step, the DGCA has now recommended to make it easier for foreign-registered charter planes and business jets to fly in and out of India. Currently, they find it tough to do so due to a maze of rules. The situation is worse if international business leaders or foreign high net worth individuals have a last-minute travel plan on a weekend when sarkari offices here are closed and unable to give the required clearances.

About two years back, VistaJet - one of the world's largest private jet charter companies - had said getting clearances on a weekend to even overfly India was tough. Thomas Flohr, founder and chairman of this multinational company, had to fly from Myanmar to Dubai on a Monday in 2016. The company had sought DGCA nod to overfly India on the preceding Friday. But being a weekend, the permission did not come in time and he had to fly to Dubai by circumventing India, which took extra three hours. Flohr has said such things harm India's image especially when the country is trying to get foreign investment.

"The issue of giving same-day clearance to foreign charters will be taken up by the committee of secretaries due to security implications and is likely to be cleared. Some safeguards will ensure that foreign-registered charters get speedy clearance without compromising security," said a senior official.

The lengthy clearances were introduced after the sensational Purulia arms drop case of December 1995 when unauthorised arms were dropped from an Antonov An-26 aircraft in Purulia district of West Bengal.
Same-day nod for flights of foreign business jets to India soon - Times of India
 

RISING SUN

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UDAN: India's hill airports, their unique challenges and the flight route ahead
Alliance Air’s ATR-42 is scheduled to depart from Guwahati airport. It won’t be an ordinary departure, though. An hour and 20 minutes later, as this 46-seater fixed-wing plane lands at the picturesque town of Pasighat on the bank of river Siang, aviation history will be scripted.

The Northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, often claimed by China as its own, will now be connected by commercial flights after long 28 years; Vayudoot, now a defunct airline, operated 19-seater planes to the state till 1990

“It was not an easy decision for us to fly to Pasighat. The first challenge was that the airport is located in the middle of the jungle and it did not have the navigational aides that other airports usually have. But the issue was resolved. Flying to Pasighat, or for that matter to any hill airport, is absolutely safe,” says CS Subbiah, chief executive officer of Alliance Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, adding how drains near the runway had to be covered and trees and lampposts uprooted before the airline was given the mandatory safety clearance.

No wonder, Pasighat airport was developed out of an airstrip originally built during the India-China war of 1962. The strip was partly paved, partly grassy. It was originally reinforced with perforated steel plates. In 2010, the Indian Air Force upgraded it.

What followed was installation of facilities such as aprons for ground manoeuvring, air traffic control tower, a security wall, a perimeter road et al. By 2016, it was ready for fixed-wing planes. The other Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) at Walong, Ziro, Along and Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh are also ready, though there’s no flight connectivity to those stations.

Alliance Air’s commercial venture to Pasighat — the airline will keep the fares low at Rs 2,000-4,000 — may not be a part of the government’s regional connectivity scheme called UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), but a number of other hill airports are being connected now, thanks to the scheme and the associated largesse like viability gap funding to the winning private operator.

For example, Kargil, located at about 200 km north of Srinagar, will soon be connected by commercial fixed-wing aircraft belonging to MEHAIR, a pioneer in seaplanes in India. Then, another destination in Arunachal Pradesh, Tezu, is expected to be connected by Zoom Air in a couple of months.

What will, however, make India’s air travel to the hills more fulfilling is when Sikkim’s Pakyong airport, built after cutting a hill and reinforcing a 74-metre wall at an altitude of 4,641 ft, will be launched, tentatively in July. Early this month, the airport got its licence to operate, and private carrier SpiceJet won the bid to operate commercial flights to Pakyong, raising hopes of tourists, who currently need to land at the Bagdogra airport in north Bengal before undertaking a five-hour road journey.

“I have asked the Airports Authority of India to give high priority to revive airstrips and helipads in the hills,” Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tells ET Magazine, indicating how several hill stations in India will now get full fledged airports. Currently, there are over 400 airports in India.

These include airstrips, helipads, advanced landing grounds and civil enclaves, among others. But only 129 of these figure on the list of the Airports Authority of India, a government agency that builds, upgrades and maintains airport infrastructure. There is no definition of what constitutes a hill airport in India, but depending on various parameters — including altitude, location and use of tabletop runway (one on a plateau with an abrupt drop into deep gorges) — about 20-25 airports in the country can be branded as hill airports. Currently, fixed-wing planes regularly fly to several of those destinations — Shimla, Kullu (Bhuntar), Kangra (Gaggal), all in Himachal; Srinagar and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir; Calicut (Kozhikode) in Kerala; Shillong in Meghalaya and Lengpui in Mizoram.

But connecting the hills will be complete only when fixed-wing aircraft get permission to fly to stations such as Kasauli and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, Jiribam and Moreh in Manipur and Almora and Nainital in Uttarakhand — all now have only heliports. Maybe, it will be a long-haul UDAN.
UDAN: India's hill airports, their unique challenges and the flight route ahead
 
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RISING SUN

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India set to overtake US aviation market, says minister
India will become the world’s second-biggest aviation market by 2038 with 1bn passenger journeys a year, according to the country’s aviation minister. Jayant Sinha believes rapid growth in passenger travel will see it leapfrog the US but lag behind China, whose own growth in passenger trips will see it overtake America by 2022, according to forecasts from the International Air Transport Association.

India’s aviation sector has boomed recently, with the number of passenger trips doubling to 200m over the past four years. Mr Sinha said he expected that growth to continue. “We’ve set a target of 1bn trips [per year] in the next 15-20 years . . . At 1bn trips I suspect we will probably move past the US,” Mr Sinha said. Iata’s forecast for Indian passenger trip growth would put it at a more modest 478m a year by 2036, but India’s aviation ministry officials stuck by Mr Sinha’s forecast. Recommended Analysis Indian business & finance Indian airlines face headwinds as oil prices rally India has the fastest growing domestic airline industry in the world. Last year, passenger volumes rose 17.4 per cent, ahead of second-placed China, which grew at 13.5 per cent, according to Iata.

However, the system is already running into capacity constraints. The strains on air-traffic control, for example, have led to an increase in the number of near misses between aircraft, as well as frequent delays. Last month, more than one-third of flights to and from Mumbai airport were late, airport authorities said. The sector is growing so quickly that the country is also struggling to build enough airports, buy sufficient aircraft and recruit enough pilots to meet demand, although it is attempting to fix all three problems. New Delhi has plans to build 50 airports and helipads in the next five years, Mr Sinha said, and a further 50 in the decade after that.

Meanwhile, Indian airlines are buying up all the aircraft they can, with more than 900 on order. Indian companies are forecast to account for about 5 per cent of global demand for new aircraft until 2036. Companies are finding it more difficult to recruit experienced pilots to work as captains. Last year the airlines regulator imposed a rule requiring captains to give a year’s notice before leaving their jobs in an attempt to keep more people in the industry.

The recent rally in the oil price also threatens to put the brakes on the industry’s progress as airline costs soar. Indigo, India’s largest privately owned airline, announced its quarterly pre-tax profits had tumbled 73 per cent year on year, after fuel costs jumped one-third. Mr Sinha insisted that rising oil prices would not lead to the kind of turmoil seen five years ago, when privately owned airline Kingfisher went bust and SpiceJet also came close to collapse.

'There are 50m Indians who would qualify as global middle class, which means they can fly anywhere in the country or internationally' © AFP “There is tremendous latent demand in India,” he said. “GDP per capita in India is growing around 5 or 6 per cent a year and people are becoming wealthier, so the propensity for air travel is increasing.” He added: “There are currently 50m Indians who would qualify as the global middle-class, which means they can fly anywhere in the country or internationally. But at the moment only 20m-25m of them are doing so.”
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RISING SUN

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UDAN success: How small-town India is flying high in 13 months
Thirty-five kilometres from capital Gangtok, a town of nearly 36,000 residents is bracing itself for its date with history. Pakyong, in eastern Sikkim, would soon be a fixture on the aviation map of the country, with Bombardier Q400 aircraft ensuring air travel to the town. Made possible by the ambitious UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, that would be no ordinary achievement for a state which was yet off-limits for India’s rapidly expanding aviation network.

Before UDAN or the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) was introduced in April, 2017, India had a total of 75 airports connected by scheduled commercial flights. In the 13 months since, 25 new airports and airstrips, belonging to states and privately-held, have been added to the aerial network, with airlines, both new and established ones, lapping up over 300 routes in the first two rounds of bidding under UDAN. The third phase of allocation of UDAN routes may happen in the coming months. The ministry of civil aviation is currently reviewing the progress made by carriers in the first round. Interestingly, the ministry is contemplating promoting seaplanes to boost tourism under the scheme, after the introduction of helicopter routes in the last round.

Airports at Adampur and Pathankot in Punjab, Vijaynagar in Karnataka and Rourkela in Odisha have been turned around for civilian use under the scheme. While the Pathankot airport was revived after seven years, the airstrips at Rourkela and Vijaynagar were hitherto being operated by corporates for business purposes. Karnataka’s Hubli airport saw flights starting earlier this month. Kadapa, Kandla, Nanded, Ozar (Nashik), Pondicherry, Porbandar, Vidyanagar, Jalgaon, Diu and Mundra are amongst the other places that have launched operations. The RCS, launched to make air travel to small towns affordable and revive the country’s unserved and under-served airports, caps airfare for a one-hour journey on a fixed-wing aircraft at Rs 2,500.

Airlines plying on regional routes have claimed significant passenger load factor so far. “We are seeing a fantastic response on our UDAN route flights. Occupancy is over 90% on most routes,” Chairman & MD, SpiceJet, Ajay Singh had said. “Passenger response is very good. We are getting an average 70% occupancy on RCS routes,” says Senthil Raja of Turbo Megha.

India is the world’s fastest growing domestic aviation market. As per civil aviation regulator DGCA, Indian airlines handled over 11.7 crore travellers in 2017, posting 17.3% growth on y-o-y basis. Experts believe regional connectivity is critical if this high growth is to be sustained. “Adding airport capacity at metros is important. But for high growth, developing regional connectivity is the way forward. With economic prosperity and reasonable airfares, more and more people in tier-II and tier-III cities will travel by air. That is where UDAN will play a critical role,” says an aviation analyst.

Not just established players, the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) model under UDAN scheme has also attracted new carriers like Air Deccan and Air Odisha. These airlines picked up the bulk of RCS routes in the first phase. “New airlines picked up the real UDAN routes in tier-II and tier-III cities. Their progress is very important for the success of this scheme,” he adds.
UDAN success: How small-town India is flying high in 13 months
 
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