UAE-based lessor Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) signed long-term lease agreements May 1 for 10 ATR 72-600 regional turboprops with Air India regional subsidiary Alliance Air.

The aircraft are scheduled to deliver throughout 2017 and will be used to grow Alliance Air’s network.

The carrier is particularly focused on serving underserved or unserved airports in India as part of the Indian Government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).

Alliance Air is one of five airlines selected to serve routes under this scheme and will be the first to start services under its auspices.

DAE commends India’s government for introducing the RCS, which should further promote regional growth and make flying affordable for the masses,” DAE CEO Firoz Tarapore said.

The deal comes just weeks after DAE acquired a large portfolio of ATRs from GE Capital Aviation Services. The Dubai-based lessor has said it plans to own up to 100 of the Franco-Italian turboprops.

At present it has 57 owned and committed ATR 72-600s in its fleet.

Alliance Air began as a low-cost arm of Indian Airlines. As part of Indian's merger with Air India, it was renamed Air India Regional.

Alliance Air operates air services to 36 destinations with an existing fleet of eight ATR 72-600s in a 70-seat layout as well as two, older ATR 42-320s in 48-seat configuration.

Flights are operated mostly to what it describes as Tier-2 and Tier-3 Cities, or those which link these cities to hubs at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Air travel in India is growing rapidly as the middle class expands.

Alan Dron