Chennai: It may take longer for airlines to fly between small towns in the state as Air Odisha, which won routes under regional connectivity scheme Udan, has been grounded by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The airline which won bids to fly from Chennai to Neyveli, Chennai to Puducherry, Salem to Puducherry, Salem to Bengaluru, Chennai to Mysuru and Chennai to Kadapa during the first phase of the Udan scheme had run into trouble and has stopped flying. As the airline is not operational, DGCA did not renew its license along those of a few other airlines which had won Udan routes in other states.
Since, the airline which won the routes is no longer operating, it will be difficult to rope in other airlines to fly on these routes.
Flights have already commenced from Chennai to Mysuru, Kadapa, Salem and Hubli under the regional connectivity scheme. However, routes within the state have been affected because of the trouble faced by Air Odisha.
Neyveli airport is being readied for operations of 20-seater planes this year. Flights between these airports was scheduled to begin in September 2017.
An airport official said the routes might have to be released for rebidding or that they could be opened for other airlines without including them under Udan. “Once a route is given to an airline under Udan scheme, it is not possible to allow another airline to start services. If airlines are ready to fly without getting the viability gap funding benefits of Udan scheme, Neyveli, Salem and Puducherry will get more flights,” he added.
10/01/19 Times of India