Pune: The Airport Authority of India (AAI) is now reviewing slots allotted to the airlines under the UDAN scheme.
There are several routes which were allotted to the airlines but they failed to start. However, the Nashik-Pune-Nashik slot is vacant after starting in December 2017. Now, the airport authority is planning to give this slot to other airlines.
Under the UDAN scheme, in the first registration, Air Deccan was to start the Nashik-Pune-Nashik flights, which also connects to Mumbai. However, due to some internal issue of the airline, the flight was not feasible.
Three months after starting the service in March 2018, the airline stopped the service due to vacancy of more than half the seats. Finally, the airline withdrew from the scheme. The slot is still vacant.
According to airport sources, the slot is expected to go to Air India’s Alliance Air from October 2019. But this is not confirmed yet as the slot allotment is in process. When contacted, Pune Airport Director Ajay Kumar said the slot is not yet filed.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, aviation expert and analyst said, “Because of the life opportunities the city offers in various fields, there is a demand for air connectivity with Pune, not just from important cities in India but also from regional tier II & III towns from within and outside Maharashtra. This is especially so under the UDAN scheme, which offers air travel at affordable rates.”
He added, “Being a hub of Western Maharashtra, providing regional air connectivity with Pune will not only boost the economy in such towns and bring them in the mainstream, but Pune airport with its pan-India flight connectivity will serve as a gateway for them by providing onward connection within and outside India.”