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Bengaluru set to see take off of third low-cost airline

Air Pegasus to start services to Thiruvananthapuram, Hubli, Goa and Chennai by mid-February

Praveen Bose  |  Bengaluru 

Bengaluru, which witnessed the launch of India’s first low-cost airline firm Air Deccan more than a decade ago, will see yet another venture taking off very soon.

After Capt Gopinath’s Air Deccan and Kingfisher Airlines of Vijay Mallya, it is now the turn of Décor Aviation, which is gearing up to launch a new airline under the brand Air Pegasus. The company will start operations by mid-February.

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.

“We have managed to get Ireland-based Elix Aviation to lease us aircraft. As of now, only one aircraft has been brought into the country,” Shyson Thomas, managing director, Air Pegasus Pvt Ltd, told Business Standard.

He said the company had hoped to launch its operations over a couple of months ago, but had to delay because of its inability to find a lessor who was ready to lease it an aircraft.

“The experience of global lessors with Kingfisher Airlines has made them wary of dealing with an Indian carrier,” he said.

Elix Aviation Capital Ltd (Elix) is a turboprop leasing specialist based in Dublin in Ireland. Air Pegasus is leasing three ATRs from Elix. It has one 72-seater aircraft and an ATR72-500, earlier owned by the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, now parked at Hosur, where the cost of parking is Rs 6,000 per night compared with about Rs 12,000 per night in Bengaluru. Two more aircraft, it has leased, are still outside the country as the cost of having them in India is higher, he said.

On the fares, Thomas said, “We will have right pricing. Unlike a low-cost carrier, we will provide some snacks and soft drinks to the passengers -- which will mean an addition of Rs 40-60 to the fare.” It will depend only on one type of aircraft to keep the costs down as it can manage with the same set of people. As of now, the airline has 18 pilots and 18 cabin crew. Of the 18 pilots, two are expatriates.

The start-up’s initial network will cover flights from Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, to Thiruvananthapuram, Hubli, Goa and Chennai.

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First Published: Wed, February 04 2015. 20:40 IST