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Alliance Air to add five new aircraft to ATR fleet

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Disinvestment-bound Air India’s regional arm, Alliance Air, plans to induct five ATR planes in its fleet in as many months and will soon roll out flights to three new destinations as part of the government’s UDAN scheme. As of now, the Delhi-based airline flies to 46 destinations with a fleet of 15 ATR 72-600s. “We are in the process of inducting new ATR 72-600 aircraft by March next year, which will take our fleet size to 20 planes at the end of the fiscal,” said C S Subbiah, CEO, Alliance Air. Subbiah said that the airline is competing with high density rail traffic and that it has enhanced frequency on many routes with daily flights from weekly flights in the last two years.

Alliance Air, at present, operates 89 departures per day connecting 62 city-pairs. “Along with the fleet, we are expanding our route network as well. We will shortly be launching a flight to Agra from Delhi, which will be our 47th destination, as part of the government’s regional connectivity scheme UDAN,” he said. Alliance Air and four other operators – SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and TruJet – were mandated to launch flights 70 airports connecting 128 routes in the first round of bidding for UDAN.

Air India is also planning to introduce two non-stop flights per week between Birmingham and Amritsar in the new year to meet the increasing consumer demand from the Midlands region to Punjab, Birmingham Airport said in a statement. The airport’s aviation director, William Pearson, said the new non-stop connection will add to the existing daily direct flight to Delhi.

“With over 200,000 British-Indian people who travel to India to visit friends and relatives, and for tourism and business interests, this additional destination shows the large demand within the region for non-stop Amritsar services from the Midlands. Air India has been a successful partner for over four years and offers great connections to India with services operated by the new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft,” he said.

Pankaj Srivastava, director of commercial at Air India, said the new flights are in response to the consumer demand from the Midlands region to Punjab. “Air India is always very sensitive to the needs of the consumer and is pleased to be connecting the two cities, thereby adding a new city pairing for Air India’s expanding global network with the only non-stop UK Amritsar service,” he said.

Preet Kaur Gill, labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, said the new flights will lead to more business cooperation between the two regions. “These flights will not only make it easier for Punjabis in the area to travel to Amritsar, but also
provides a great opportunity for local and regional businesses to both deepen existing ties and create new ones,” said Gill, who is also the councillor for the UK borough of Sandwell which is paired with the city of Amritsar. (PTI)