Low-cost carrier SpiceJet will start operations on UDAN 2 routes by the end of April, chairman and managing director Ajay Singh said on Wednesday.
SpiceJet won 17 proposals and 20 new sectors under round 2 bidding of the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) on January 24.
“Two-three airports are ready for flights to take off. We will start operations on these from April-end or first week of May after getting the necessary clearances,” Singh told FE.
Among the new routes awarded to SpiceJet are Pakyong in Sikkim, Hubli in Karnataka, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Kannur in Kerala and Darbhanga in Bihar.
State-owned Air India’s fully owned subsidiary Alliance Air kicked-off UDAN 2 on February 27 by servicing the Jammu-Bathinda sector.
Zoom Air, run by Zexus Air Services, is likely to start operations under this scheme from later this month while IndiGo could make its debut on the government’s air network expansion
programme from July-August, media reports stated.
On the impact on UDAN due to major airports like Mumbai reaching saturation point, Singh said getting capacity will be difficult going forward.
“It will be a great challenge to get capacity at saturated airports for UDAN 2. Let’s see how it is tackled,” he said.
Singh added that the the response to UDAN has good. “Our flights in the first phase routes have seen over 90% occupancy. We are utilising existing aircraft on these routes and will add more aircraft soon,” he added.
The carrier is servicing two destinations — Porbandar and Kandla from Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai.
SpiceJet has a fleet of 22 Bombardier Q400 aircraft besides Boeing 737 planes. The company will be adding 50 more planes by the end of this year.
By Arun Nayal