Star Air launched its thrice-weekly flight operations on the Hubballi-Delhi route on Wednesday, using the capital's recently-launched second airport at Hindon, a top official of the airline said on Wednesday, adding that the service would be operated on a daily basis very soon.
After launching the service at the Hindon airport, Star Air's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Simran Singh Tiwana said the airline will also start flight operations on the Delhi-Gulbarga and Delhi-Jamnagar routes.
The airline, which currently has two 50-seater ERJ145 aircraft in its fleet, will be inducting three more such planes by the end of 2019-20, he informed PTI.
Currently, Star Air will be operating flights on the Hubballi-Delhi route on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Asked about the load factor for Wednesday's inaugural flight, Tiwana said, "We are completely sold out for the inaugural flight -- both incoming and outbound -- and it is the same for the flight on Thursday."
"Initially, we are starting thrice-weekly. We have various constraints which we want to see.... We don't want to be in a situation that there is something that we have not calculated for.
"As soon as we are able to establish operational synergy for these three days, we plan to make it a daily flight," he told PTI.
For the Hubballi-Delhi route, the airline has opened bookings till March and has already sold about 1,200 seats.
The Hindon airport is Star Air's seventh station as it has been operating flights to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hubballi, Tirupati and Belgaum.
Tiwana said the Delhi-Hubballi route will always have a load factor of more than 90 per cent. "This is what the prediction of the network and revenue team is," he added.
"The IGI (Indira Gandhi International) airport has landing facilities for low-visibility conditions. We have been told that we will not be facing these problems here and that the weather is better here. But we want to see how the winters are. In Delhi, during winters, there is a huge amount of fog. So, we want to be sure of that before we launch seven-day services," he added.
"We are 100 per cent sure that we have to make this a daily flight," Tiwana said, adding that the airline also had plans to start flight operations on the Bengaluru-Gulbarga route.
The Delhi-Hubballi route is the longest under the Centre's regional connectivity scheme (RCS), UDAN.
After connecting the Bengaluru airport with the Gulbarga airport -- which got its license from aviation regulator DGCA on October 31 -- Star Air planned to start flight operations on the Gulbarga-Delhi route, Tiwana said.
Post Gulbarga, the airline will focus on launching flight operations between Jamnagar and Delhi, its thirdS route, he added.
All Star Air flights connecting Delhi with other cities would be using the Hindon airport and not the IGI airport, Tiwana said.
He added that the third ERJ-145 aircraft will be inducted into the airline's fleet in the first week of December and two more ERJ-145 planes will be delivered in January. Consequently, by the end of 2019-20, the airline will have a fleet of five planes.
The UDAN scheme, announced in October 2016, seeks to connect the unserved and under-served airports in the country as well as make flying affordable by capping fares at Rs 2,500 for a one-hour flight.
The Hindon airport started commercial operations from October 12, when a nine-seater Heritage aircraft of Heritage Aviation started operating on the Delhi-Pithoragarh route.
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