'11 states ignored by domestic carriers'

Civil aviation ministry report reveals mere 14% of scheduled flights cater to 55% of nation's total population; establishment of low-cost airports and reduction in ATF prices suggested

A latest report prepared by the civil aviation ministry has made some startling revelations. The report indicates that a mere 14 per cent of scheduled flights which operate in the country cater to a mammoth 55 per cent of the nation's total population.

Overlooked: The report states that Haryana, Sikkim, Puducherry,
and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have almost zero connectivity.
Representation Pic

The report states that Haryana, Sikkim, Puducherry, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have almost zero connectivity, while 11 states -- Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Meghalaya and Orrissa -- are catered by only 14 per cent of total 12,000 flights that operate on the domestic route every week.

A copy of the report, which is with MiD DAY, also reveals that out of the 14 per cent, a majority of the flights operate either between state capitals or Metro routes. The report also suggests that states must play a proactive in establishment of low-cost airports and complement other infrastructure needs to the operators, besides reduction in Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices.

"There should be some underwriting by the state governments to operators in booking seats so as to make the routes viable for them. Also, sales tax on ATF should be reduced, as it is an important cost component to airline operators," reads the report.  

The report also recommends establishment of Regional Air Connectivity Fund to give subsidy to airlines to operate on these routes and also to the airport operator so as to establish requisite infrastructure for the small airports. Besides, the report says that route dispersal guidelines (RDG), which mandate private airlines to fly non-profitable routes, should be revised every three years so that national and regional needs are addressed.

The committee headed by Rohit Nandan, joint secretary, civil aviation ministry, was set up last year, which had members on board from DGCA, Airport Authority of India, private airports and some other stake holders. The committee had a mandate to assess and explore the possibility of air connectivity in the country especially in remote areas.  

The report says future for the country's aviation sector lies in small aircraft. Non-scheduled operators, which mostly operate small aircraft, be allowed to announce their schedule like passenger airlines that will help the passengers in easily locating their flights while these operators will get more passengers. Moreover, it also suggests that 225 state and private airports  could be allowed to for commercial operations to increase regional connectivity.

13 crore
Approximate number of people that an airport caters to in the country

Approximate number of flights that operate on the domestic route every week

Ponder a while
UP and Bihar contribute to 24.6% of country's population, but the states have a combined flight connectivity of only 2.9%.  Delhi and Maharashtra contribute 10.3% of the country's total population, but they enjoy flight connectivity of 37.3%.

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