Indian operators that were awarded routes under the Indian Government's Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS/UDAN) have announced plans to induct new types of aircraft into their respective fleets ahead of the routes' launches later this summer.

In the first instance, Pawan Hans Helicopters (Delhi Int'l) is considering adding amphibian aircraft to its fleet as it gears up to enter India's mainstream scheduled passenger services niche this summer.

The helicopter operator was awarded 35 city pairs during the Indian government's most recent round of RCS allocations. The routes focus primarily on towns and cities in India's northeast.

“The plan is to add more than 50 new towns and cities to our map in the near future,” Pawan Hans chairman and managing director B.P. Sharma told India's LiveMint. “We are actively considering adding seaplanes to our fleet and are currently in talks with lessors."

During this recent RCS allocation round, seaplane specialist Mehair (Mumbai Int'l) was awarded the Kargil-Srinagar–Kishtwar–Jammu route for which it intends to add Let 410 equipment in the coming weeks. The carrier said in a statement that the Let Kunovice turboprop will initially be deployed on flights connecting Mumbai Int'l with Nanded, Kolhapur, Sholapur, Shirdi and Nashik before being used to connect other airports in Maharashtra state.

The seaplane niche is also being explored by SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l) which has indicated its interest in establishing a seaplane manufacturing plant in the Indian state of West Bengal. It, too, is a keen participant in the RCS scheme and, aside from operating the routes awarded to it during the initial round of allocations last year, plans to commence service on those it was awarded during round two in January, in April this year.

Media reports state that Zoom Air (India) (ZOM, Delhi Int'l), run by Zexus Air Services, is set to start RCS operations later this month while IndiGo Airlines (6E, Delhi Int'l) could make its RCS debut from July-August.