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The aviation regulator DGCA has granted flying permit to Air Deccan, a move that will enable the airline to operate flights under the regional connectivity scheme called Udan. The scheduled commuter operator (SCO) permit to Air Deccan, which is promoted by GR Gopinath, was handed over to the airline this evening, an official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation told PTI on Friday. This paves the way for the airline, which till now was holding a non-scheduled operator permit, to fly on regional routes under the regional connectivity scheme that caps fares at Rs 2,500 for an under-one-hour flight. Air Deccan, which has bagged 34 routes in the first round of bidding for the scheme, has already announced the inaugural flight, which is set to take off for Jalgaon from Mumbai tomorrow. Besides, the ariline also plans to connect Nashik and Kolhapur. Air Deccan will deploy a 19-seater Beachcraft B-1900D plane on this route.
It has acquired three such planes so far. Gopinath is credited for pioneering low-cost flying in the country in the early 2000s with Air Deccan, which he later sold to now defunct Kingfisher Airlines in 2007. His attempt at launching a cargo service under the name of Deccan 360 in 2011 in association with Reliance Industries came a cropper. Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani had reportedly invested around Rs 100 crore in the failed venture, which if took off would have been the first pure-play cargo airline in the country.