Alliance Air, the regional arm of Air India, plans to triple its fleet this fiscal by inducting 20 more ATR aircraft amid an increased focus on enhancing connectivity to underserved and unserved airports. Over the next two years, Alliance Air aims to expand its fleet to 50 ATR aeroplanes, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani said.
“We will induct 10 ATR 72-600 planes in September. We plan to lease another 10 ATR aircraft within this financial year. In the following year, we hope to procure another 10 to 20 ATRs,” he said. The 10 new ATRs are being procured on lease for 12 years.
At present, the Air India subsidiary has a fleet of eight ATR 72-600 (70 seater) and two ATR 42-320 (48 seater) aircraft.
Alliance Air has recently been awarded 15 of the 128 routes under the Centre’s regional connectivity scheme, Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), wherein fares are capped at Rs 2,500 for one-hour flights and airlines are extended viability gap funding by the government.
However, the Air India subsidiary will not be restricted to merely the routes awarded to it and will be flying additional ones to improve connectivity to smaller cities.
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“We will be operating flights to enhance regional connectivity, and (only) some of them will be part of UDAN. We are very aggressive about this,” Lohani said while interacting with mediapersons.
Air India is also procuring a new ATR 72-600 simulator, which will be operational in October, in order to train pilots for flying the new aircraft. This will replace the Airbus A320 simulator at AI’s Central Training Establishment in Hyderabad.
“So far, Alliance Air has been sending its pilots for training to Toulouse, Singapore and Bangkok. This is a costly and time consuming exercise. These pilots can now train at our facility in Hyderabad,” Captain Amitabh Singh, Executive Director (Training), Air India told PTI.
Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, currently provides flight services to 34 tier-two and tier-three cities via Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.