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Star Air takes delivery of its first Embraer E175 aircraft

Star Air has taken delivery of its first of four Embraer E175 aircraft. The aircraft arrived yesterday in Bengaluru, the home base of Star Air.

Regional carrier set to spread wings

Star Air Embraer E175, registered OY-YEE, is one of the four E175s leased by Star Air as it looks to spread its wings and enhance regional connectivity in India. All of these four aircraft are leased from lessor Nordic Aviation Capital.

Here’s an interesting video about the paint work of Star Air’s first two E175 aircraft:

Star Air currently operates a fleet of five Embraer E145LR (Long Range) aircraft. The airline serves 19 destinations in India. One thing which I like about the airline is that it has stayed true to its slogan of “Connecting Real India”. The carrier has been able to connect small towns to bigger cities under India’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), under which most of the airline’s routes operate.

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Could this be the turning point?

Regional carriers in India have had an interesting past. TruJet, Air Costa and Paramount Airways all were not able to last for much longer. No regional carrier in India has been able to grow capacity and scale up, unlike say United States where multiple small airlines have a contract with big carriers to operate for them. TruJet was the only one which was able to stay for a longer period but it also went bust last year.

Star Air started operations in January 2019, so we can say that most of its life has been under the pandemic. The airline has made full use of India’s RCS scheme, in the sense that most of its route are operated under that scheme. Under this scheme, the government gives incentives and subsidies to airlines to get them to operate to smaller towns which lack connectivity. This scheme has helped the airline price tickets higher for the non-subsidised seats, as most of its routes have no competition.

Although the carrier has not yet turned a profit, the losses have been coming down every year. This is even after most of its routes, if not all, are subsidised. One thing to note is that until now, the airline has purchased all of its aircraft and not leased them.

Star Air has gone from strength to strength in its journey, even expanding during the pandemic. It’s an achievement in itself that the airline has gone through such a rough phase in the start itself and still has been able to keep flying.

Where can the E175s be deployed?

Star Air is leasing ex-Belavia E175 aircraft, which are configured with 12 Business Class seats and 64 standard Economy Class seats. Now it remains to be seen where Star Air goes for a proper Business Class product or just upsells those seats for a fixed amount to upgrade.

Star Air’s E175s has 26 more seats than the E145LRs. With these new aircraft, the airline can increase capacity on existing routes where the market has matured and demand is significant. The airline can also deploy these aircraft on longer routes, probably from Bengaluru and Hyderabad to Jamnagar or from Bengaluru to Hindon via Hubbali or Kalaburagi.

The airline has not yet announced plans for these E175s but it will certainly be interesting to see how the airline plans to use these aircraft.

Featured image by Star Air

What do you think of Star Air taking E175 aircraft for its further expansion? Let me know in the comments section below.

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