Zoom Air says it is possible to operate its aircraft on Delhi-Shillong route

Shillong, Apr 23: Zoom Air has conveyed that it is possible for it to operate CRJ200 Aircraft directly between Delhi and Shillong Airport.

The airline has informed this to the Meghalaya High Court through an affidavit filed by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Umesh Kumar Bhardwaj during a meeting held under the chairmanship of Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Usha Padhee on April 15.

The affidavit however said there is substantial load penalty when operating at Shillong Airport which will vary according to operational and weather conditions.

It also stated that it was the stance of Zoom Air that before commencement of operation, Safety Risk Assessment of the Airfield as per regulation is to be conducted by them and if any observation required to be made, the same is to be addressed by the AAI so as to ensure operational and safety consideration for operating CRJ200.

“It was also divulged that due to load penalty, the operation is not commercially viable unless it is financially supported by the Government,” it said.

The Under Secretary further deposed that the existing Airport infrastructure with respect to runway, Apron and other facilities available at Umroi Airport are suitable for CRJ200 type Aircraft which is available with Zoom Air.

The existing Airport Rescue and Fire fighting (ARFF) category, Cat V at Umroi airport will be upgraded to Cat VI by AAI when any Airline confirm the operation of flights Q400 or CRJ200.

It stated that if any further observation is made by Zoom Air after assessment, same will be addressed to the extent feasible.

The Civil Aviation representative also informed that Zoom Air was advised to conduct Safety Risk Assessment of the Airfield as per guidelines and observation of minimum operational and safety consideration of operating CRJ200 from Delhi to Shillong would be considered by AAI provided M/s Zoom Air commits to start operation from Delhi to Shillong.

It was further stated that the Ministry of Civil Aviation does not provide financial support to Airlines for commercial operations across the country.

However, Ministry of Civil Aviation may consider including Delhi/Hindon – Shillong and Shillong-Delhi/Hindon routes in the next round of bidding under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN wherein M/s Zoom Air may also participate in transparent bidding process and the same would be considered as per provisions of the scheme.

After due procedure, selected Airline operator would be awarded route for its operation as per RCS-UDAN document, the affidavit said.

In another affidavit filed by respondent no 21 has categorically stated that CRJ200 Aircrafts are capable to operate between Delhi and Umroi Airport but with load penalty so it would not be commercially viable to operate flights between Delhi Shillong without financial support from the Government, this concern is already taken note of in the affidavit filed by Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Counsel for respondent No. 21 (Zoom Air) while referring to the two affidavits submits that when the tenders will be floated regarding Regional Connectivity Scheme-UDAN, only then they can say with certainty as to whether their financial concern will be taken care of or not.

Further added that after the Certificate is issued Zoom Air will start operation, immediately thereafter they will conduct a Safety Risk Assessment.

In short, he submits that the Aircraft of Zoom Air is to operate most likely from middle of May, therefore, by end of May, it shall conduct the Safety Risk Assessment but he was suggested to impress upon the Airline to take assessment within three days after operation of the first flight of Zoom Air regarding which he seeks time to have instructions.

Meanwhile during the hearing, the bench headed by chief justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir observed that conjoint reading of the two affidavits suggest that some seriousness is exhibited and means are explored for operation of flights from Delhi-Umroi and back.

“In short, there has to be a clear commitment on the part of Zoom Air i.e., complete willingness to operate CRJ200, only then tenders will be floated, so respondent No. 21 has to make a clear commitment which means unconditional commitment for operating flight CRJ200 from Delhi – Umroi Airport and back,” the bench said in its order.