Salem will regain commercial traffic by year-end thanks to government-subsidized TruJet (TRJ, Hyderabad Int'l) services, the Times of India reported.

K. Mariappan, president of the local chapter of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) said that before the year-end, Salem airport in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu will be connected to the hub airport in Chennai, as well as some cities in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state. The exact dates of the launch or the frequencies have not been revealed yet.

The service will be operated from Vijayawada via Kadapa and Chennai to Salem. Return flights from Salem will connect Chennai, Mysore, Vijayawada and Kadapa, Mariappan explained.

All routes will be operated by a 72-seater ATR 72-200/-500/-600 turboprop under the UDAN scheme. UDAN is an Indian government's plan to subsidise flights to secondary and tertiary airports in order to boost air connectivity across the country. Under this scheme, the authorities reduced excise on value-added tax on fuel and service tax, while publicly-owned airports waived their charges. Airlines can also get a compensation to cover the gap between the income from the legally-capped fares and actual costs (viability gap funding).

According to Mariappan, fares from Chennai to Salem will be capped at INR1920 (USD29.4) and from Salem to Chennai at INR1750 (USD26.8). The concessional rates will be available for the first 36 customers on each flight, amounting to 50% of the available capacity, in accordance with the UDAN scheme rules.

TruJet operates a fleet of three ATR72-500s and one ATR72-600 mostly out of Hyderabad Int'l. It is one of five airlines approved to provide capacity under the UDAN scheme, the others being SpiceJet, Deccan Charters, Air Odisha and Alliance Air (India).

Salem's last regular commercial service to Chennai has been terminated in 2011. It was operated by now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines (IT, Mumbai Int'l) and closed due to low passenger numbers. Since then, the airport has been a hub for general aviation and pilot training.