Spice zing to int’l UDAN routes

TravTalk - India - - AVIATION - Nisha Verma

SpiceJet turned out to be the big­gest win­ner of routes in Min­istry of Civil Avi­a­tion’s (MoCA’s) am­bi­tious UDAN 3, with around 24 pro­pos­als be­ing awarded. Ajay Singh, Chair­man and MD, SpiceJet, shares the details and gives in­sights into the fu­ture of In­dian avi­a­tion.

The UDAN routes would in­clude two routes for wa­ter aero­dromes as well as two in­ter­na­tional routes. Talk­ing about the sea­plane op­er­a­tions, UDAN 3 and in­ter­na­tional op­er­a­tions as part of the scheme, Ajay

Singh, Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, SpiceJet, says, “It was an ex­per­i­ment that in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions would also be in­cluded un­der UDAN. The state gov­ern­ments had ap­proached the cen­tral gov­ern­ment for as­sis­tance with the bid­ding process for in­ter­na­tional UDAN. As­sam state which has come for­ward with this ini­tia­tive. For this, SpiceJet has bid for two routes from Guwa­hati to Bangkok and Guwa­hati been awarded to us.” He be­lieves that sea­plane op­er­a­tions is an in­no­va­tive project, con­sid­er­ing the dearth of air­ports and time taken to build them. “Sea­planes is a unique idea be­cause it takes time to build air­ports and it’s not al­ways easy to get land to build them. We should use wa­ter bod­ies as they ex­ist in large num­bers through­out our coun­try to take tourists to des­ti­na­tions. The be­gin­ning has al­ready been made with pro­pos­als of wa­ter aero­dromes and SpiceJet As­sam, Gu­jarat and the An­damans. It’s a great start and we will see how it fares in the fu­ture,” he added. Singh fur­ther added, “SpiceJet is the largest player in the UDAN scheme. We al­ready have 23 op­er­at­ing routes un­der UDAN 1 and 2 and we will be start­ing an­other 20 routes un­der UDAN as soon as the air­port in­fra­struc­ture is ready. Even in UDAN 3, the largest num­ber of routes have been awarded to SpiceJet. Not only is this scheme com­mer­cially vi­able but is also in­creas­ing con­nec­tiv­ity across In­dia.” Avi­a­tion is one of the shin­ing sec­tors of the In­dian econ­omy, points out Singh. “We have been grow­ing at 20 per cent ev­ery year. In­dia is the fastest grow­ing avi­a­tion mar­ket in the world. It has been our long­stand­ing re­quest that what In­dia re­ally needs is to cre­ate in­ter­na­tional global hubs in the coun­try as op­posed to ship­ping our hubs to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sin­ga­pore, etc. We also need to cre­ate global air­lines in In­dia and for that to hap­pen, we need Apart from pro­vid­ing funds for air­ports in­fra­struc­ture and ad­di­tional funds for UDAN, the pri­mary fo­cus for the gov­ern­ment should be to bring down the cost of Avi­a­tion Tur­bine Fuel (ATF),” he de­manded. He agreed that sta­bil­ity of the ru­pee against the dol­lar and the slight cool­ing off of crude oil prices have cer­tainly im­proved the sit­u­a­tion. “The sit­u­a­tion has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally from what it was a few weeks ago. Even air­lines such as SpiceJet are adding new planes that are tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced and con­sume less ATF. We also hope that air­lines will work to­gether to en­sure that yields are higher,” he shared.

Apart from pro­vid­ing funds for air­ports in­fra­struc­ture and ad­di­tional funds for UDAN, the pri­mary fo­cus for the gov­ern­ment should be to bring down the cost of Avi­a­tion Tur­bine Fuel

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