Feb 20, 2017
Feb Air India is planning to add Dornier 228 twin turboprops to the fleet of its Alliance Air subsidiary to boost service to second- and third-tier cities under the government-backed Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which begins in March. Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani told AIN that the flagcarrier expects to lease 10 of the 19-seat aircraft from government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which already produces military-configured versions under license from Switzerland Ruag Aviation.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is now working on a requested civil type certification for the aircraft. “The certification from DGCA could well be facilitated and speeded given HAL and Air India are both government owned,” R.K Bali, managing director of India’s Business Aviation Operators Association (BAOA) told AIN. He said that HAL, which is in the process of creating a leasing division, will have to make provision for maintaining the aircraft to airline requirements. So far, it has produced 125 Dornier 228s in India.
According to BAOA, most flights under the RCS program will be of no more than 90 minutes' duration and on average carry 10 passengers.