Efforts to restart MDLR continue

MDLR Airlines is proceeding with its efforts to resume operations. The airline, which had operated three Avro RJ70s, suspended operations in October 2009 while being investigated for several safety violations. The airline has now purchased one of the RJ70s it had been leasing, VT-MDN (msn E1252), which has been in storage at Bacău. According to reports in the Indian press, MDLR has hired former IndiGo executive Shakti Lumba. The airline would apparently operate under the Jet Sapphire brand name, initially using the same three RJ70s that MDLR had been using, and then adding more aircraft. Despite a policy of encouraging the establishment of regional airlines, no such airlines are currently operating in India. As a result, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has relaxed the requirements. Regional airlines will now have two years, rather than one, to reach a fleet size of three aircraft, and five years, rather than two, to reach a fleet size of five aircraft. The DGCA is also re-thinking the policy that limits regional airlines to flying to just one of the country’s four regions.

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