After a lot of wait, the routes allotted under UDAN 3.0 were announced on January 25, 2019, and each city which got connections were halcyon with the announcement.
So were the citizens of Belagavi which has one of the oldest airports in the country established in 1942 by the Royal Air Force.
Belagavi got as many as 13 connections under UDAN, by 5 operators namely Ghodawat Star Air, Turbo Megha (Tru Jet), InterGlobe (Indigo), Spice Jet, and Alliance Air.
Belagavi to Hyderabad, Tirupati, Mumbai, Pune, Surat, Kadapa, Mysuru, Indore, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Nasik and Nagpur routes have been announced but the big Question is when will the flight services commence?
The way forward from here will be that Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India as the Implementing Agency will release Letter of Awards to the selected airlines with applicable terms and conditions. The focus will be on ensuring the early commencement of the routes awarded under UDAN 3.
All the Airlines will have to apply for Slots to the respective airports and the same would be approved by AAI, but the only concern here would be getting a new Slot at Mumbai, all other Airports do not have much traffic and hence that could happen in a fortnight once the airlines apply for.
The other concern that is there availability of Aircraft with the airlines.
Ghodawat Star Air has maximum 8 routes, and currently has only 2 airplanes with it. The two currently are on the Hubballi – Tirupati – Bengaluru route and from Feb 6 the Belagavi – Bengaluru route will be added.
So for Star Air to commence all the 8 routes, it will take a while, as it took almost six months or more to commence operations from Hubballi under UDAN 2.
So when will it Start then?
The earliest could be SpiceJet which has two routes Mumbai and Hyderabad. They have airplanes and they will have to shift to start operations from Belagavi which even if they are all ready would take a month, so March or if things are moved on a fast note maybe end of February.
Even Alliance Air could start as it has planes. Turbo Megha also has started new routes under UDAN 2 just last week, so we will need to ascertain how they will engage their airplanes on routes from Belagavi.
In a nutshell, even if the routes are announced, the Aam Nagrik will have to wait for 2-9 months for all the 13 routes to be operational.
Also, it could be a possibility that Flights to Chennai could be started by other operators in the normal course.