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Five operators will operate on 128 routes and connect 70 indian regional airports. 

regional airports

According to The Hindu Flights for Rs. 2,500 connecting these smaller centres may begin from April
Beginning April, passengers may be able to fly on as many as 128 routes connecting 70 big and small airports across the country by paying ₹2,500 for an hour’s flight.
The Centre on Thursday announced a list of routes awarded to five airlines which will operate flights under its regional connectivity scheme, named UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik).
“We will be adding 43 new destinations with the launch of RCS,” Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said. “Flying was a rich man’s prerogative earlier, but now it has also become a common man’s prerogative.”
Turbo Megha Airways Low-cost airline SpiceJet, Air India subsidiary Alliance Air along with regional airlines Turbo Megha Airways, Air Deccan and Air Odisha Aviation won the rights to operate flights under the regional connectivity scheme under which half of the seats on the plane will be capped at ₹2,500 per hour’s flight.
Some of the inactive airports that will soon witness regional flights include Shimla, Agra, Bikaner, Gwalior, Kadapa, Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Vidyanagar, Burnpur, Diu, Shillong, Kullu, Mysore, Jagdalpur, Salem, Utkela, and Hosur.
The regional airlines will connect these destinations with their nearest bigger airports such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Jaipur, among others.
Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey said that the first regional flight may likely begin its operations in April. “Fortunately, in the first round of bidding, the airlines focussed on airports that are ready to take flights. The deadline to start operating regional flights is September,” Mr. Choubey said.
Subsidy on losses

As per the scheme, the Centre will subsidise the losses incurred by airlines flying out of dormant airports to help airlines charge ₹2,500 for an hour’s flight to passengers.
80% of the subsidy will be collected by charging a levy of up to ₹8,500 on each departing flight of domestic airlines and the rest 20% will come from the respective State governments.
The Centre had asked airlines to submit their proposed routes along with subsidy amount required to operate the regional flight. This was followed by counter-bids from other airlines and the one asking for the least financial support won the bid.
Government will provide subsidy to airlines for first three years of operations when they will have exclusive flying rights on the selected routes.
“The scheme has a unique market-based design. We have a successful national and international aviation market but an underdeveloped regional market. This scheme will stimulate growth in the regional aviation market and will connect underserved and unserved airports that really didn’t have flight services,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said.
Mr. Sinha said the airlines which had won the first round of bidding under the scheme would require a subsidy of ₹205 crore for running their operations. This would ultimately lead to the creation of 13 lakh seats in the regional aviation market.
“This is really about bootstrapping and creating a market which is not a perpetual subsidy,” Mr. Sinha said. “Once the market gets jump started, it will operate on a commercial basis as per market forces of supply and demand,” the Minister of State added.
To know more click here scheme proposal

He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aerospace

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

At the prestigious ILA aerospace trade show in Berlin, Airbus Defence and Space made waves by introducing its pioneering Wingman concept, marking a significant leap forward in military aviation technology.

Teaming up with Helsing, Europe’s leading defense AI and software company, Airbus showcased a framework cooperation agreement aimed at revolutionizing the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) in defense.

Airbus Wingman

The Wingman concept represents a paradigm shift in aerial warfare, introducing unmanned platforms equipped with advanced AI capabilities to augment the capabilities of manned combat aircraft. Pilots in command aircraft such as the Eurofighter command these autonomous drones, positioning them to undertake high-risk mission tasks that would traditionally pose a significant threat to manned-only aircraft.

Central to the Wingman concept is Manned-Unmanned Teaming, wherein manned aircraft serve as “command fighters,” retaining ultimate control over mission decisions while delegating tactical tasks to unmanned systems. This synergistic collaboration promises to enhance mission flexibility, increase combat mass, and minimize risk exposure for pilots, thereby bolstering overall operational effectiveness.

The capabilities of the Wingman extend across a diverse spectrum of mission profiles, ranging from reconnaissance and target jamming to precision strikes against both ground and aerial targets. Equipped with advanced sensors, connectivity solutions, and a diverse array of armaments, the Wingman stands poised to redefine the operational landscape of modern air forces.

While the Wingman model showcased at ILA Berlin represents the pinnacle of current technological innovation, it also serves as a catalyst for future design iterations. As with any pioneering concept, refinement and evolution are inevitable, with each generation of the Wingman poised to push the boundaries of aerial warfare even further.

MQ-28 Ghost Bat

Boeing introduced the MQ-28 Ghost Bat, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which made its maiden flight in February 2021. Developed by Boeing Australia, the MQ-28 leverages artificial intelligence to serve as a force multiplier for manned fighter jets.

The Ghost Bat is engineered to operate in tandem with existing military aircraft, enhancing and extending the capabilities of airborne missions. This cost-effective UCAV is designed to work as an intelligent teammate, complementing and amplifying the effectiveness of manned operations in various mission profiles.

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Aerospace

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber
Image:USAF

The United States Air Force (USAF) has unveiled the first photographs of the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber in flight.

These images were captured during test flights conducted by the B-21 Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, marking a significant milestone in the development of this sixth-generation aircraft.

Currently undergoing flight tests in California, the B-21 Raider represents the next generation of stealth bombers. With an estimated cost of around $700 million per aircraft, the B-21 Raider is poised to become a crucial component of the USAF’s arsenal for conventional Long Range Strike missions.

According to Air Force briefings, the B-21 Raider will form part of a comprehensive family of systems, encompassing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities, electronic warfare, communication systems, and more. Notably, the bomber will be nuclear-capable and adaptable for both manned and unmanned operations.

It boasts the flexibility to deploy a wide array of stand-off and direct-attack munitions, ensuring versatility in various combat scenarios. One of the B-21’s distinguishing features is its extensive integration of digital technology, as highlighted in discussions held during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Designed with an open systems architecture, the B-21 Raider is built to swiftly incorporate emerging technologies, ensuring its effectiveness against evolving threats over time. The B-21 Raider is slated to replace the aging B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers, bolstering US national security objectives and providing reassurance to allies and partners worldwide.

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