Mumbai: India’s first low-cost airline, Air Deccan, which stopped operating after being acquired by the former Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, took off again as a commuter airline with its first flight taking off for Jalgaon from here today. The flight, DN 1320, took off for Jalgaon, about 400 km from here in northern Maharashtra, from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) here this afternoon.
“It’s a great start feeling, a feeling of being lucky that Air Deccan is taking off again,” Air Deccan president, captain G R Gopinath, told PTI. It was dreamed of flying to all possible corners of the country, which did not come to fruition due to the merger of Air Deccan with Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, he said.
“Now I have the opportunity to restart operations throughout the country,” said the pioneer of low-cost aviation in India. The flight was inaugurated by Maharashtra Minister PWD Chandrakant Patil along with Gopinath. However, the inaugural flight was spoiled by the delay. The aircraft took off around 2.55 pm instead of the scheduled 1.20 pm departure. He landed at the airport in Jalgaon at 4 pm where he received a traditional greeting from a water cannon. Strategic Air Deccan partners, Shaishav Shah, of GSEC Ltd, based in Ahmedabad, and Himanshu Shah, of Monarch Networth Capital, as well as senior officials of the DGCA, were aboard the inaugural flight.
Air Deccan received yesterday the permission of the programmed commuter operator (SCO) of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). In the first phase of operations, Air Deccan plans to provide connectivity to Jalgaon, Nashik and Kolhapur from Mumbai and Pune. Air Deccan had bagged 34 routes in the first bidding phase for the Udan scheme, which limits the tariffs in Rs. 2,500 for a flight of less than an hour.
For the Jalgaon flight, the airline has fixed rates in Rs. 2,250 for 50 percent of the seats, to be operated under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, while the price of the ticket for the remaining nine will be Rs. 4,500 per seat, said an official.
Air Deccan has deployed a 19-seater plane, Beachcraft B-1900D, (18 passengers and one crew member) on the Mumbai-Jalgaon route. The same plane will return to Mumbai and then fly to Nashik tonight. The flight operators, routes awarded under the scheme, are
is entitled to a subsidy to keep the fares low for passengers. An airline has to allocate 50% of its seating capacity at discounted rates.