Alliance Air, an Air India subsidiary, will be leasing at least 10 ATR 72-600 aircraft from government controlled Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Ltd. The airlines, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India Limited, caters to 34 destinations with most of these destinations being tier-II and tier-III cities, or those that link these cities to the national hubs and has a fleet of 11 aircraft. Alliance Air is one of the 5 airlines which were selected in the first round of bidding for UDAN (ude desh ka aam naagrik) and has been granted eight routes under the scheme with more routes expected in the ensuing rounds of bidding.
The agreements for the planes which are said to have a capacity of around 72 seats have already been signed and the aircraft are set to be delivered this year, according to a statement made by DAE. The ten planes are scheduled to be delivered “throughout 2017”, Dubai Aerospace said in a release. The move is aimed to boost the airline’s Connect India programme as well as the government’s regional connectivity scheme, and is specifically focussed on connecting under-served or non-operational airports. The first flight under the scheme was flown by Alliance Air from Shimla to Delhi last month.
DAE is one of the biggest lessors of ATR 72-600 aircrafts and the deal has been finalised just a few weeks after a large portfolio of ATRs was acquired by DAE from GE Capital Aviation Services. “Air India has embarked on Connect India programme under which it aims to bring smaller cities on the country’s air network map. The leasing of 10 ATRs for a period of 12 years will help Alliance Air not only enhance frequencies on the existing routes but also commence services on some newer regional routes which remain off the aviation map as of now,” said an Alliance spokesperson as quoted by The Hindu. The spokesperson went on to add that the airline had already invited bids from interested parties in this regard and that the supplier of these planes would also have to provide up to 50 pilots for a minimum period of two years. Alliance Air which started as a low-cost arm of Indian Airlines was renamed Air India Regional after the merger with Air India. “We are delighted to welcome Alliance Air as our newest customer,” Dubai Aerospace Chief Executive Officer Firoz Tarapore said. “The company is pleased to support Alliance Air’s growth ambitions and its efforts to be the first airline to start operations under the UDAN scheme,” he added.
AirDeccan, SpiceJet, AirOdisha and Trujet are the other airlines which have been selected to ply passengers under UDAN scheme.