A new airline operator dedicated to the North-East is set to take off by April 1, North Eastern Council (NEC) Secretary U K Sangma said today.

“The bidding process for the services which has already begun is expected to have an operator with improved services and cheaper rates to fly in the NE airspace,” Sangma said here.

The closing date for the bidding process is January 24.

However, five private airline operators today turned up at the pre-bid consultation here and they had sought extension of deadline for the submission of tender by at least three more weeks, Sangma said.

Their request might be considered, he said.

The five operators were two scheduled operators — Bangalore—based Quickjet and Aizawl—based North East Shuttles — besides, three non-scheduled operators — Pawan Hans Pvt Ltd, Bell helicopters and GM Airlines.

The state-owned ‘Alliance Air’ stopped flying here after their contract ended in December 2011.

Sangma said ‘Alliance Air’, which had been flying taking advantage of the subsidised flights since 2003, might also consider participating in the bidding process.

The routes specified for the subsidised flights were Shillong — Kolkata — Delhi, Tezpur — Guwahati — Delhi and Lilabari — Guwahati — Delhi.

Asked as to why the contract with Alliance Air for their services was not renewed after December 2011, Sangma said the operator used to run flights in an “inefficient manner” for the past ten years and earned bad name from member states.

(This article was published on January 4, 2013)
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