Pune to connect with Bhavnagar, Belgavi

ST CORRESPONDENT
Monday, 28 January 2019

The Pune airport will be connected to two more destinations under the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Regional Connectivity ‘UDAN’ scheme in its third round (3.0).

Pune: The Pune airport will be connected to two more destinations under the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Regional Connectivity ‘UDAN’ scheme in its third round (3.0). These new flights announced will connect Pune with Bhavnagar in Gujarat and Belgavi in Karnataka, revealed Ajay Kumar, Pune Airport Director.

Following a bidding and contract allotment process that went on for over three months, Airport Authority of India (AAI), the implementing agency for UDAN, has selected SpiceJet to operate Pune- Bhavnagar flight, while Alliance Air has been allotted Pune-Belgavi operations. 

Under Round 3, the AAI has awarded 235 new routes, which comprise of 189 RCS Routes and 46 Tourism Routes across 29 states in the country.

According to an AAI statement released this week, “As part of the Round III process, AAI had received 111 initial proposals and 17 counter proposals from 15 bidders covering more than 350 UDAN routes. Proposals connecting 13 water aerodromes and more than 40 tourism routes were also received as part of the bidding process. After detailed validation, 73 proposals have now been identified for allotment.”
The proposals identified to be awarded would add another 69.30 lakh seats annually across the RCS routes with more than 1 lakh annual seats through seaplanes and more than 15 lakh annual seats on tourism routes. This is in addition to the number of seats created under UDAN 1 (13 lakh) and UDAN 2 (29 lakh). 

UDAN achieved mixed success with about half the allotted flights failing to take off in Round 1. This happened as two of the seven airlines that were selected to operate performed dismally. Air Deccan and Air Odisha had bagged about 84 routes out of the total 128 allotted in the first round, but managed to fly only on 10 routes. 

Pune's dismal record
Pune, which had bagged one route in Round 1, namely Pune-Ozar (Nashik) flight with Air Deccan as operator, was grounded within months of becoming operational. 

In June, the airline said that they had received clearance from the MoD and would restart the Pune-Nashik operations from June 21. The operations, however, did not commence.
 
Two other routes were announced in Round 2, namely Pune-Huballi with Ghodawat Group as operator and Pune-Allahabad with IndiGo getting the rights.
 
Ajay Kumar, Director of Pune Airport, said that schedule for the two new routes announced in Round 2, is yet to be finalised. 

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