Alliance Air – the only government owned airline in India, has signed up for lease of two ATR42-600 aircraft. Alliance Air currently operates a fleet of all ATR aircraft currently with 18 ATR72-600 in its fleet. The airline is also expecting two Dornier Do-228 aircraft, manufactured by Kanpur.
Alliance Air will lease the two ATR42-600s from lessor TrueNoord, with the first being delivered mid of this year. This will allow the airline to operate flights to Shimla and Kullu. The Delhi – Shimla route was the first route which had taken off under RCS-UDAN in 2017. However, the route has been suspended. For flights to Kullu, the airline has to block seats as it can only fly limited load. In the past, the airline operated ATR42s, seven of which were part of the airline at different time periods. They operated to Agatti from Kochi, along with Kullu and Shimla in the north and had one based in the Eastern part of the country to cater to low traffic routes.
As per ATR, in 2021, 40 new routes were created in India with ATR aircraft. These are the third and fourth ATR 42 aircraft that TrueNoord is introducing into its fleet, as in December 2021, the lessor bought two ATR 42-600 to support Silver Airways’ development in the United States.
TrueNoord focuses on leasing aircraft in the 50 – 150 seat segment. The lessor already has presence in India with IndiGo being its customer. Five ATR72-600s of IndiGo have been leased from TrueNoord.
While Delhi – Shimla – Delhi isn’t commercially feasible, the airline continues to operate to Kullu via Chandigarh on six days of the week with a severe load penalty. The airline carries only 55 passengers from Chandigarh to Kullu with only 20 on the way back. The same restrictions continue on Sunday’s – the only day when it operates a non-stop Delhi – Kullu – Delhi flight.
A challenge of having a sub-fleet is that one needs to find routes beyond these for the aircraft to be engaged the entire day. This could mean that some more routes could come up or see a change in equipment.