Air Pegasus to take off by mid-April

DGCA issues air operator's permit to Bengaluru-based airline; will be third to start ops in last one year

Bengaluru-based Air Pegasus is set to take to the skies in a fortnight. The regional scheduled airline received an air operator's permit (AOP) from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday.

Pegasus will be the third new airline and a low-cost carrier to take to Indian skies in the last one year. While the Tata Sons' low-cost venture with AirAsia Berhad, AirAsia India started its services during June 2014, Vistara launched its operations on January 9 this year.

The airline has just one aircraft in the country today, an ATR which it had leased from Elix Aviation of Ireland and has it parked at Hosur. It will bring in another aircraft in another fortnight, and bring in the third aircraft in a month or so from now. The airline will start services in six-eight sectors in the next two weeks.

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The firm had already paid the advance for the aircraft, and is set to take delivery now that it has got the necessary clearances from the DGCA.

"We did not bring the aircraft earlier into the country, because of the cost involved in keeping the aircraft on the ground. On the one aircraft that we have taken delivery of, we have spent about Rs 4.5 crore on lease-rent alone. That is about Rs 90 lakh per month," Shyson Thomas, managing director, Air Pegasus Private Limited, told Business Standard.

Based out of the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, (KIA) Air Pegasus will initially fly to Thiruvananthapuram and Hubballi. As of now 4,191 seats are available per week to fly directly from Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram with three airlines operating between Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram. About 52 per cent of all flights from Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram arrive during the morning hours.

"Initially, we will have only skeletal operations and we will slowly scale up as we iron out the chinks in the operations as we go along," Thomas added.

Once the services start, it will be slowly scaled up to connect Kochi, Chennai, Tuticorin, Belagavi and Rajahmundry.

Meanwhile, the maintenance and checks of the aircraft will be done by Airworks at KIA.

The airline is promoted by ground-handling services provider Decor Aviation, and it will see an initial investment of Rs 100 crore from its internal resources. The new carrier is backed by 15-year-old Decor Aviation Private Ltd, the Bengaluru-based ground-handling services company, to the tune of Rs 40-50 crore of their own money and a loan of Rs 20 crore from Canara Bank.

Decor Aviation, which is part of the Decor Group of Companies, provides ground handling services to Indian and foreign carriers across 11 airports in India. It has an asset base of over Rs 50 crore.

The company plans to have a single aircraft-type to keep down its maintenance and manpower costs. The airline is targeting a turnaround time of about 20 minutes and is looking to utilise its aircraft nine hours to 10 hours on a daily basis.

First Published: Mar 25 2015 | 8:47 PM IST

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