Air taxi operations in Madhya Pradesh likely to resume by early July
Air taxi operations, connecting smaller towns and cities in Madhya Pradesh, that were suspended in September last year are likely to resume by early July.
Supreme Transport, the company that has bagged the contract for the air taxi service, has stated that the aircraft leased for the purpose will arrive in India within 2 weeks.
After the aircraft goes through the mandatory checks by regulator director general of civil aviation (DGCA), the services are likely to take off from early July.
“We have leased an aircraft for operations in Madhya Pradesh. Once the aircraft arrives in India within the next 2 weeks and required clearances are accorded, the services can commence from around end June or early July. All other preparations to commence operations are in place,” said the CEO of Supreme Transport Amit Agarwal.
The state government has changed some of the features of the air taxi services after previous contract holder Air Ventura’s term expired.
For one, the state government will not underwrite 3 out of the 9 seats on every flight.
Instead it will subsidise part of the per hour flying cost subject to maximum of Rs 1 crore per month.
Under the new contract, the operator has to connect at least 4 cities in MP.
Considering this clause, it is likely that Bhopal, Jabalpur, Indore and Gwalior would be connected by the service.
Under the amended contract, the operator can also fly to cities in neighouring states like Raipur and Jaipur thereby giving inter-state air connectivity. The contract would be in force for 3 years.
In the previous contract, the state government had spent about Rs 6 crore in underwriting 3 seats on each flight and another Rs 2 crore in subsidising VAT on aviation turbine fuel (ATF).
The subsidy could be higher this time, considering the state government could shell out Rs 1 crore a month.
The operator will use a 9-seater Cessna aircraft, the same which the previous operator used as well.
Sources in the state government said that the MoU between the state government and Supreme Transport was inked on April 23.
“The operator can fly to other states but whether he will do it depends on viability,” said a senior state government official.