One and a half years ago, January 13th 2006 precisely, I wrote a piece on my blog (http://mymysore72.blogspot.com/2006_01_01_archive.html) titled "wake up airline investors..." and that was about how the hinterland in India was largely unserviced by any Airline or operator in India. I had predicted that new investments were required from private players to tap this market. I had also predicted that the boom in aviation in future woukd come from the hinterlands.
Why am I rehashing old stuff? Well, news from India that I am following on the net these days suggests that the Ministry of Civil Aviation is paving the way for new "regional airline" operators to connect hitherto unconnected airports, using "regional" aircraft. There are some riders attached to the policy to ensure that regional routes are the primary business of the operators and to ensure that new licenses given for an airline does not violate the reduced norms of the Government.
The policy of encouraging new entrants to service the regional sectors is a good one. I am sure that feasibility of operating to smaller towns is not going to be a factor and I predict that the revenue yield per seat is going to be much above what "national" airlines are getting for their trunk routes. The new policy also allows existing operators to have regional subsidiaries but the license given will be in a different category. The Government has also offered lots of sops for companies willing to operate on these sectors, just to give them a jumpstart. I hope that new operators take this gauntlet tossed to them by the Ministry and turn this into profitable ventures. I say again, in my opinion, the hinterland in India is where the next boom is, for sure.
I guess this comes a little late, but better late than never, says an old cliche'. I have been shouting hoarse for a while on this subject. I don't believe for a second that the Aviation Minister read my blog of a year and half back although that would be flattering if he did! Only my fanciful thinking! I had to do this piece, felt good to be writing about aviation again.