Tuesday, November 30, 2010

India To Get Regional Airline

Aviation Week Daily

Nov 29, 2010

On Dec. 25 India will get its first regional airline—Jagson Airlines—which will take advantage of a government break in parking and navigation fees by operating its AVRO RJ-85 with only 80 seats.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation introduced its regional air transport policy in August 2007 when a worldwide recession put plans for launching regional services on hold. India introduced the policy for scheduled regional air transport services as there was a need to promote air connectivity between non-metro and remote airports within the country’s aviation network.

The RJ-85 was chosen following its ability to land on short runways. “It flies at twice the speed of the present ATR-42s being run on the route by full-service and budget carriers and with no weather restrictions,” CEO Koustav Dhar told Aviation Week.

To take advantage of the government rule that permits waiving of parking and navigation charges for aircraft weighing less that 40 tons with less than 80 seats, Jagson is planning to reduce seats on the 94-seat aircraft by putting 72 in economy and 8 in business class. The refurbished seats have a larger pitch than any other carrier in India—46 inches in business and 34 inches in economy.

Jagson also will only pay a 4.5% fuel surcharge instead of 30% paid by operators of larger aircraft.

“Regional is the sector for all to look at as 45% of the traffic exists on that sector at the moment. There is too much crowding of the major city pairs,” says Dhar.

According to Ministry of Civil Aviation rules, a regional airline must have three aircraft at the end of its first year of operations and five by the end of the second year.

The carrier has signed a letter of interest with BAE for an RJ100 108-seater to be delivered in March and an RJ-85 for delivery in December 2011.

“We are buying the aircraft direct from the manufacturer as BAE offers good support,” says Dhar. The aircraft recently completed its C check by Chevron, U.K. A power-by-the-hour agreement has also been signed with Honeywell for the LF-507-IS engines.

Initially, Jagson will run services from New Delhi to Aurangabad, Dehradun, Kullu, Udaipur and Shimla, with a 12-hour utilization, says Dhar.

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