CHENNAI: Employees of Air India, the country’s flag carrier, on Saturday took out a cycle rally from the airline’s city booking office at Egmore to Meenambakkam. The rally was aimed at popularising the introduction of Alliance Air flights from Chennai to four destinations. While direct flights to Madurai, Coimbatore, and Vijayawada will be launched on August 30, another service to Tiruchy will be launched on August 31.
Alliance Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, is introducing flights to tap the potential in tier-II and tier-III cities, in the wake of the Central government’s Udan scheme, which envisages boost to regional air connectivity. The rally, in which more than 60 employees participated, was flagged off by Air India Regional Director (South), Captain S Arulmani and passed through Royapettah, Mylapore, Adyar and Guindy. Speaking to Express, an airline official said that a brand new ATR-72 flight with a seating capacity of 70 seats would be based in Chennai.
This aircraft will be used to directly connect the four above destinations with Chennai. Another aircraft is expected to be added shortly, upon which frequencies may be increased. “It is also possible to expand to new places. We have ascertained that there are people from these tier-II cities who want to fly,” the official said. While Alliance Air had operated flights from Chennai earlier, they were withdrawn owing to certain reasons. Now, encouraged by the Udan scheme, it is making comeback. Alliance Air currently operates 55 daily flights to 36 destinations across the country with a fleet of 13 ATR planes. It is one of the five airlines that have been awarded 128 routes by the government under its regional connectivity scheme.