IAF clears more than 119 routes for commercial flights

The availability of airspace for civilian use will lead to potential saving of Rs 1,000 crore per annum to airlines.

Published: 14th February 2023 11:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th February 2023 11:11 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo | Martin Louis, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Indian Air Force (IAF) has released 119 ‘conditional’ air routes for commercial flight operations, which will bring down consumption of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), and travelling time and cut carbon emissions. The availability of airspace for civilian use will lead to a potential savings of Rs 1,000 crore per annum for airlines.

Briefing about the decision, Union Tourism and Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy on Monday said that the matter had been debated over the years but due to indecision civilian flights had to detour. “The issue was discussed at different levels in the government. The IAF, which controls the airspace, has agreed to leave the upper air space for civilian use under Atmanirbar Bharat initiative and around 119 conditional routes were given the nod,” said the minister. 

A conditional route (CDR) is a route or a portion, which can be planned or used under certain specified conditions only. Around 40 per cent of the airspace was unavailable for civilian use till now forcing the airlines to adopt circuitous routes, leading to inefficient use of fuel and time along with avoidable extra expenditure.

“IAF controls 30 per cent of national airspace out of which 30 per cent has been released as upper airspace under flexible use of airspace (FUA),” Reddy added. FUA is an airspace management concept based on the principle that airspace should not be designated purely as civil or military, but rather as a continuum in which all user requirements are accommodated.

He added under regional connectivity scheme (RCS) Udan, the government so far has spent Rs 2,360 crore as viability gap funding to compensate the losses of the airlines operating on non-profitable routes.
“Till 2026, the target is to start 1,000 routes to connect small towns,” Reddy added.


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