Civil aviation in India is expected to grow and dominate in this decade. But this would be possible only if airlines manage to connect Tier II cities with the rest of India.
This is a challenging task for the airlines because firstly, there are few passengers travelling from these cities and secondly, infrastructure facilities at these airports are bad. Which makes most of the Jet- engine aircrafts in the inventory unusable at these airports. As these airports have short runway lengths and incompatible taxiways.
This is where Turboprop aircrafts come in. Turboprop aircrafts are aircrafts which use external propeller engines known as turboprop engines to fly. With their short takeoff rolls and fuel efficiency in short-haul flights they are a perfect solution for tier II cities. There are few turboprop aircrafts in the current market like the ATR-72/442 and Bombardier Dash 8 series.
[Bombardier Dash 8 series Aircraft]
The old generation Dornier and Avro aircrafts were used by the erstwhile Vayudoot and Indian Airlines but had been discontinued in the 1990’s. Leaving a void in the tier II cities and airstrips, especially in the northeast.
Today Jet Airways and Kingfisher fly the ATR-72 / 42s turboprop aircrafts to these cities. Together there are 47 turboprop aircrafts in inventory and another 38 on order. Air India regional flies about 7 ATR-42s.
Newer airline like Spicejet have on order 30 new Bombardier Dash 8 aircrafts of which they received delivery of 3 aircrafts this August. The airline plans to connect tier II cities like Salem and Raipur with metros with metros like Chennai and Mumbai in the near future.
The turboprop aircraft is making a comeback, with sales of manufacturers quadrupling in recent years and a continued upsurge expected in this decade. With high oil prices, concerns over climate change, and uncertain economic conditions keeping airlines nervous, the return cannot come a moment too soon.
Turboprop aircrafts are among the most efficient aircraft in the skies, using only 64% of fuel per seat compared to the average jet. They also cause less noise pollution, keeping the environmentalists happy.