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Air Deccan will take to the skies again with Nashik-Mumbai flight; fares start at Re 1

Air Deccan, the first homegrown budget carrier in India, is getting a makeover. The low-cost airline, founded by Captain G R Gopinath in 2003, will restart its operations after nine years. In 2008, Air Deccan merged with Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines which later became defunct in 2012.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.in        Last Updated: December 13, 2017  | 15:27 IST
Air Deccan will take to the skies again with Nashik-Mumbai flight; fares start at Re 1

Air Deccan, the first homegrown budget carrier in India, is getting a makeover. The low-cost airline, founded by Captain GR Gopinath in 2003, will restart its operations after nine years. In 2008, Air Deccan merged with Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines, which later became defunct in 2012.

Known for fares as low as Re 1, the no-frills carrier is set for a relaunch this month. The first flight of the newly relaunched Air Deccan will take off on December 22 from Nashik and fly to Mumbai, Gopinath told Mint. "This will be my last Udan and then I will hang up my boots," said Gopinath.

To boost regional connectivity under the UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, the government had announced a list of airlines that will be connecting several unserved and under-served airports in the country. Five airlines that had won bids will operate flight services on 128 routes that will connect 70 airports across the country. The operators include SpiceJet, Air Odisha, Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, Air Deccan, and Turbo Megha.

In its new avatar, Air Deccan will begin with four bases at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Shillong. "Some of the initial lucky people will be able to get Re 1 fares also," the report quoted Gopinath, as saying. Air Deccan will also operate daily return flights between Nashik and Pune and Mumbai and Jalgaon.

Air Deccan, which will use 19-seater Beech 1900 D planes, plans to station a second aircraft in Delhi to connect the national capital with Agra, Shimla, Ludhiana, Pantnagar, Dehradun and Kullu by January 2018.

In his 2016/17 budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that "there are about 160 airports and air-strips which can be revived at an indicative cost of Rs 50 crore to Rs 100 crore each."

Early this year, Expenditure Finance Committee had recommended the proposal to revive 50 unserved and under-served airports and airstrips at an estimated cost of Rs 4,500 crore over three financial years starting 2017/18. At the moment, India has around 100 operational airports.
 
The biggest issue with air traffic in India is that it's largely concentrated around metro cities. According to rough estimate, over 66 per cent of India's total air traffic comes from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The over-dependence of India's air connectivity on metros has led to congestion in these airports. Both Delhi and Mumbai have chalked out expansion plans because they cannot give fresh landing and parking slots to airlines.

 

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