With an aim to take air connectivity to the remote areas of the North East, state-run Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd is planning to start a new model of operations in the region that will link smaller cities via Guwahati to rest of the country.
"We are planning hub-and-spoke model for the region. We would fly helicopters from smaller cities in the region to Guwahati from where we would operate two fixed-wings aircrafts to connect to the rest of the country," PHHL Chairman and Managing Director RK Tyagi told PTI.
The company, whose helicopter services are mainly used by various state governments in the region, has approached North Eastern Council (NEC), the nodal agency for economic and social development of the area, for approval as well as funding.
"We have written to the council and discussions are underway for getting approval and funds to launch the operation. We would require atleast Rs 20-30 crore of funding," he added.
There are 12 airports and 21 airstrips operational in the region currently.
Pawan Hans is also expanding its fleet and will add 10 helicopters by next year at a cost of Rs 390 crore. It has signed an agreement with Eurocopter for 10 helicopters, which will be delivered before the CommonWealth Games next year.
It currently has 36 helicopters in its fleet. It is also in discussions with Border Security Force to maintain and operate seven of its helicopters.