State-owned Alliance Air and Pawan Hans are working together to provide last-mile connectivity in the hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh. The two organisations plan to sign a code share partnership, which will allow passengers from Delhi to travel to towns in Himachal Pradesh via Shimla on a single ticket.
“We have signed an MoU with Pawan Hans and our commercial teams are working on nitty-gritty for the code share. We will be working on integration of application programming interfaces for single ticketing and revenue share mechanism. We have different baggage policies and that too will have to be harmonised,” said Alliance Air CEO Vineet Sood.
“The partnership will boost regional connectivity and make travel more convenient. We hope to have code share in place in next few months,” he added.
Alliance Air operates ATR-42 aircraft between Delhi and Shimla. Pawan Hans operated its Dauphin helicopter from Chandigarh to Shimla and onward to various other locations in Himachal Pradesh such as Kullu, Mandi, and Rampur under the regional connectivity scheme. However, this service was suspended in December.
A new set of helicopter routes in Himachal Pradesh has been awarded to three operators — Global Vectra, Heritage Aviation, and Pawan Hans under regional connectivity scheme. Pawan Hans has secured routes such as Chandigarh-Baddi, Baddi-Kulu. From Shimla Sanjoli’s heliport it has been granted routes to Chandigarh, Rampur, and Manali. “The new routes will be operationalised soon,” said an official. Pawan Hans plans to deploy two helicopters to operate these routes, including a Dauphin and Bell 407, it is learnt.
While Alliance Air offers 15 kgs of check-in luggage, Pawan Hans allows only five. Helicopter operations in hilly areas have their own challenges. These include capacity limitations due to terrain and temperature. Thus while a Dauphin helicopter can seat eleven passengers it can take only 4-5 passengers on routes like Shimla-Rampur in Himachal Pradesh, said a source.