SpiceJet Chief Ajay Singh Pitches For UDAN-like Scheme For International Connectivity

Pushing the idea of having local hubs for international flights, SpiceJet chief Ajay Singh has pitched for an initiative on the lines of regional connectivity scheme UDAN that can encourage Indian airlines to fly overseas.

India is the fastest growing domestic aviation market in the world and an increasing number of people are flying to overseas destinations.

Against this backdrop, Singh has said it is time for Indian carriers to start flying people directly overseas rather than in foreign carriers and places like the national capital and Mumbai “should become global international hubs”.

“We have 1.3 billion people in our country and lot of them want to travel overseas… our own carriers must take people overseas directly from Indian hubs. Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad should become global international hubs,” he told PTI during a recent interview.

No-frills carrier SpiceJet has flights to seven international destinations, including Dubai and Bangkok.

In this regard, Singh, the airline’s chairman and managing director, has mooted the idea of having a scheme similar to that of UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), which seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports in different parts of the country.

To create international hubs in quick time, the Centre should consider some form of scheme where airlines can work together with the government, much as UDAN has created the internal connectivity, he said.

“Perhaps we can look at a similar structure for international flights, whether that is in terms of direct viability gap funding, in terms of other concessions that the government might give. We need to have a dialogue between the private sector and the government to see if can get much more international connectivity from India and build international hubs within our own country,” Singh noted.

SpiceJet operates 408 average daily flights to 52 destinations, including 45 domestic and 7 international ones.

Earlier this month, he had said that the airline is “completely agnostic” about the routes it flies as long as they are profitable.

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