After approval from DGCA, Indigo to start first phase regional flights from South India

Moneycontrol News

Indigo plans to debut its regional operations in South India later this year using a new seating plan which was approved by DGCA for its smaller aircraft, as reported by Livemint.

In this new development, Indigo will use a 74-seater ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale meaning Regional Air Transport) turboprop where the first row seats will face other passengers.

“The airline says that if there is a family of four they can sit facing each other. We have cleared the induction,” a DGCA official was quoted as saying.

The aviation regulator has also cleared the 78-seater version of the same aircraft.

In the first phase, South India will be the focus of Indigo’s regional operations. The first three ATRs would be based out of Hyderabad and will begin flying to temple town of Vijaywada, Tirupati and Rajahmundry from December 8.

“As we have said previously we expect ATR operations to start in December and have seven aircraft operating by the end of March,” the airline’s chief finance officer Rohit Phillip was quoted as saying.

The airline hasn't come up with the exact number of aircraft it will have by March but it has suggested that the number would be around 180.

ATR aircraft will benefit from lower fuel tax, almost no airport charges and will receive benefits under the government’s regional flying scheme, 'Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik' (UDAN).

Another DGCA official said that Indigo might bring expat pilots for its provincial operations.

Indian ATR captains command a salary of about Rs 5.8 lakh a month. Expats start with a salary of Rs 10 lakh a month which is tax-free as per industry standards, a senior private airline commander said in a statement. Indigo has placed an order of 50 ATRs.

SpiceJet currently flies 20 Q400 aircraft in a 78-seater configuration. It is also Indigo’s biggest competitor and has ordered 50 ninety-seater aircraft.

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