As a part of its efforts to enhance air connectivity in the country's North-East region, non-scheduled operator--North East Shuttles--plans to acquire three more aircraft this year at a cost of $7.5 million, a top company official said.
The private operator currently provides air services across Assam, Manipur and Mizoram with three small aircraft.
"We are in talks with some aircraft manufacturers to acquire three new aircraft," North East Shuttles' Managing Director Capt Shoba K Mani said on the sidelines of the 6th North East Business Summit organised by the Indian Chambers of Commerce in Mumbai.
The company is also in discussions with aircraft makers for funding the acquisition of the three aircraft at a cost of $2.5 million each.
These aircraft would be used to commence new routes which are being worked out, Mani said.
Once the aircraft are inducted into the fleet, North East Shuttles will operate 150 more flights per month, the company official said, adding Dimapur, Dibrugarh and Leelabai (an airstrip in Assam and skirting Itanagar) are the new air bases which it was looking to operate flights from.
"We are also in advanced stages of negotiations with the Arunachal Government to operate air services from there," Mani said.
North East Shuttles currently operates 380 flights a month with two 18-seater Dornier 228 and one nine-seater Cessna Caravan aircraft, connecting Guwahati with Imphal and Aizawl, Silchar with Guwahati, Aizawl and Imphal and Imphal and Silchar.
Besides, the company also provides charter and medical emergency evauation services as well.