INDIA will see the advent of two new airlines this year – Air Costa and Kairali Airlines, to take off in July and November respectively.
Air Costa, based in Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh, is currently awaiting final approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). It has purchased one and leased two Embraer jets so far, and is shopping for two more to lease.
K N Babu, CEO, Air Costa, revealed: “We intend to link regional towns and cities with short-haul connectivity to ensure that these destinations are served adequately with air services.”
Meanwhile, LCC Kairali Airlines will commence operations from Kerala with five planes, connecting Bengaluru, Chennai, Mangalore and Mumbai with Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kochi. It will also run a service to popular diving destination, Lakshwadeep Islands.
K Praveen Kumar, chairman and managing director, Kairali Airlines, said: “Our tickets will cost at least 25 per cent less than other Indian carriers in the domestic sector.
“In the overseas sector, after six months of domestic operations, we will connect Kerala with the United Arab Emirates first, and then spread to other international destinations.”
DGCA rules stipulate that a new airline must be in operation in India for at least three years before it can apply to fly overseas, but airlines can sidestep that by tying up with an existing international carrier. Kairali has yet to announce the international airline it will ally with.
C. Nagendra Prasad, chairman, Chennai-based Travelexpress, commented: “Regional airline hubs are necessary for greater flight access for tourists and business clients to under-served cities and towns. Many south Indian cities are booming because of industrial growth and the demand is extremely high. The idea of regional airlines is probably the most feasible and economically viable proposition in Indian aviation today.”