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Deccan's cargo airline is here

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

GR Gopinath

In a first by an Indian firm, chief Capt today announced the launch of Deccan Express Logistics, an air cargo and express logistic service on domestic and international routes.

The first service would cover New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hong Kong and Dubai sectors, Gopinath said. These account for 85 per cent of India’s $1 billion cargo business. Gopinath said this business was growing 20 per cent per annum.

Launched at an initial investment of Rs 1,000 crore, Deccan Express Logistics, under the brand name “Deccan 360,” would look to raise another Rs 1,500 crore in the next few months by divesting equity, Gopinath said on the sidelines of a press conference here today.

Maintaining that Deccan 360 would provide domestic connectivity to cargo services, he said, “At present, foreign freight carriers are operating, but they are allowed only to bring cargo from outside the country but not within the country. We are looking at that market.”

Deccan 360 would be the first Indian company to build a hub-and-spoke model in the cargo industry and would ensure clock-work precision in operations, Gopinath said, pointing out that while the United States had over 200 freighter aircraft, India had just six. “This gives us a big opportunity,” he said.

Gopinath had founded India’s first low-cost carrier, Air Deccan, which was later taken over by Kingfisher Airlines and rechristened Kingfisher Red.

Asked why did he launch the venture during the recession, Gopinath said, “Air Deccan was also launched at a time when the aviation industry was facing its worst slowdown post 9/11. At that time, only 1 per cent of Indian population was flying. I see opportunity for my cargo and logistics services today.”

Deccan 360 would operate with three Airbus A310 freighters, with a carrying capacity of 35 tonnes, and six small feeder ATR 42 aircraft.

The company has already inducted an Airbus A-310. Two more will be added early next month.

Deccan Express Logistics has also signed an agreement with infrastructure development firm GMR group for setting up express cargo operating facilities at Delhi and Hyderabad airports. These two, along with the new multi-modal international cargo and passenger hub at Nagpur, would form an extensive multi-modal storage, transportation and delivery network to bring connectivity to every corner of the country, Gopinath said.

First Published: Sat, May 09 2009. 00:04 IST