The Centre has finalised the operator for Guwahati-Dhaka and Guwahati-Bangkok routes under the international leg of UDAN scheme, making them the first two sectors to operate under the flagship regional connectivity scheme, a senior civil aviation ministry official said without disclosing the winning bidder.
The official added that the procedure was in the final stages and the airline will be able to start operating on the routes by March-end. While the government received multiple bids for these two routes, there were no takers for four other destinations from Guwahati – Singapore, Yangon in Myanmar, Kathmandu in Nepal and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
“There was competition for these two cities. There were more than one bid. We have finalised the bid for Bangkok as well as Dhaka. The file is already with the minister, the day it is signed, we will announce the winner,” said the aviation ministry official.
The official also said that the Guwahati-Dhaka flight will be operated on a turbo-prop aircraft, while the Bangkok sector from Assam’s largest city will be operated on a “180-seater” aircraft.
Currently among the large airlines in India, turbo-prop aircraft are operated by IndiGo, Air India-arm Alliance Air and Jet Airways, which operate ATR airliners and SpiceJet that flies the Bombardier Q400 plane.
“For the last one year they (Assam) have been pursuing the ministry and they have committed the funds. They are keen that whatever money is there should be used to bid for six destinations. We got the bids for two airports: Bangkok and Dhaka. For the remaining four, we got invalid bids,” said the official.
Under international version of the UDAN scheme, the subsidy will come from the states and not the central government.
Furthermore, unlike the domestic scheme, no airline will be given exclusivity over a particular route.
On October 14 last year, the centre had invited proposals from interested air operators for the international scheme as it sought to enhance air connectivity from India to select overseas destinations.