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Pvt airlines may get subsidy for flying to north-east

Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) came out with the proposal after a few private airlines, including Jet Airways, sought government clearance to scale down their flights to the region to stem operating losses. 

If the proposal is approved, private airlines may get a subsidy of Rs 35 crore annually for operating flights to the routes in the north eastern states, which are economically unviable but socially important, officials said.

DoNER Ministry has been providing Alliance Air, an Air India subsidiary, an annual subsidy of Rs 35 crore for operating flights in the region but as services of the airline were not found "satisfactory", government was rethinking on continuing the assistance.

"We are considering giving the subsidy to those private airlines which operate flights to non-commercial destinations in the region. We will talk to Civil Aviation Ministry before taking a final decision,"

DoNER Minister Pawan Singh Ghatowar told reporters while briefing on the outcome of 61st Plenary meeting of the North East Council here yesterday.

After posting a loss of Rs 298 crore in the last quarter, Jet Airways sought government clearance to scale down operations to the north eastern region by about half.

Operations in the north-east are guided by the government's Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG) which entail that all Indian carriers fly to the north east and other remote parts of the country, more so as a social obligation.

Demanding better connectivity, DoNER and NEC have been urging Civil Aviation Ministry to review RGDs as air connectivity has remained neglected in these far-flung areas inspite of them. 

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