Air India (AI, Delhi International) is contemplating a push into Indian regional routes, according to Mint. The outlet says internal discussions are underway about taking on IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi International) and operating more flights between India's key cities and smaller tier two and three cities, as well as point-to-point flights between various smaller cities.

"Discussions were held on the matter," an anonymous Air India official said. "These are internal discussions and there will be further rounds of assessment on this before a final decision is taken. The opportunity in the regional space is staring us in the face and the intent is to provide a complete travel solution to Indian travellers."

When still a state-owned airline, Air India subsidiary Alliance Air (India) operated regional domestic routes while the parent concentrated on trunk routes and international operations. When ownership of Air India transferred to Tata Sons in early 2022, Alliance stayed under government control, leaving Air India without a substantial regional network. The Indian government's Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme, which, among other things, subsidises airlines to operate certain sized aircraft on underserved and unserved regional routes, has also made that space more financially attractive to many operators.

Operating ATR - Avions de Transport Régional turboprops “is one of the options that the Air India Group is looking at with a lot of interest," the official said. Air India's largest local competitor, IndiGo, has extensive regional operations, relying on a fleet of forty-five ATR72-600s to service its regional network. In May, ch-aviation reported that IndiGo was planning to order around 100 regional aircraft. SpiceJet (SG, Delhi International) has twenty-four DHC-8-Q400s tasked to regional flights (18 of those aircraft are currently inactive, according to ch-aviation fleets data), and start-ups Star Air (India), Fly91, and flybig have all recently made forays in the regional space, albeit with smaller fleets and varying degrees of success. In contrast, Air India does not operate any turboprop aircraft. The airline did not respond to a request for comment.