Cost structure, adequate funding needed for regional airlines: Experts

By Hindustan times

In early January, a pilot-turned-entrepreneur commenced a new airline in a segment which has seen only failures in the country’s aviation space because of myriad reasons.

Consider this, between 2011 and 2018, as many as five private regional airlines –Air Mantra, Air Costa, Air Pegasus, Air Carnival and Air Odisha—started services promising to change the regional aviation landscape in the country, but today, in a span of almost eight years, none of them can be seen flying in the skies, as all have shut shop.

At present there are seven carriers, including disinvestment-bound Air India’s regional arm Alliance Air, operating in the country under regional flying permit.

While the future of the most established player in the lot —Alliance Air —looks stable considering it has a strong parent (promoter) in the form of Government of India, concerns regarding the longevity of the remaining privately-funded airlines to sustain operations will depend on a number of factors, as viability of a regional carrier has always been under question.

Reason for failures

Aviation research and consultancy firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), during a webinar on “reinventing regional aviation” had noted that despite undoubted potential of regional aviation in the country, the sector continues to be severely under penetrated, with the market delivering a string of failed regional airlines.

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