Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited, the first regional airlines startup company based out of Hyderabad, is readying for the launch of its flight services by the first week of July.
“We have received first of the three 72-seater ATR aircraft at Hyderabad International Airport on Thursday. The second one is expected to join in a couple of weeks. Now we are awaiting the Air Operation Permit (AOP) from the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) to start operations,” Umesh Vankayalapati, managing director and a promoter of the company, told Business Standard.
The company hopes to launch its operations by the end of June or in the first week of July, depending on the final clearances from the DGCA, according to him.
Turbo Megha was one of the six applicants that received no-objection certificates (NOC) from the DGCA to start airline services in July last year.
Telugu movie actor Ram Charan Tej, who is the son of actor-turned politician K Chiranjeevi, is the other promoters of the company. He will be doubling his role as the brand ambassador of the new regional airways, Umesh said.
Turbo Megha is investing between Rs 60 crore and Rs 70 crore, which includes the operational expenses of the first three months of the launch, according to him. It has leased the three aircraft from an aircraft leasing company based in Ireland.
The company, under the brand TrueJet, is planning to launch services to Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Hubli, Mangalore, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, Goa and Pune with Hyderabad as the centre of its operations.
Though entering the aviation sector in a humble way compared to its immediate peers, Turbo Megha is going to stay away from the pricing war with other regional airlines as it seeks to make a difference by offering a better service experience to the customer. “Indeed, we may price the tickets a tad higher than that of the others as we plan to offer better on-board services as well as providing facilities like pick-up to our passengers,” Umesh said.
Unlike those who operate bigger aircraft, the company expects to reach early break-even due to lower investment on ATR aircraft and also helped by the current economic situation. The promoters expect 60-70 per cent occupancy for their flight services on the routes proposed in the initial phase.
Meanwhile, the company is likely to offer discounts to a specific set of people, which would be announced by Ram Charan Tej ahead of the launch.
Umesh, an aviation engineer, had set up his first venture Turbo Aviation Private Limited in Hyderabad in 2003, which had entered the aviation activities with manufacture of ground support equipment for airlines. It is currently providing ground-handling services, engineering and MRO services to the domestic carriers among other activities.
Turbo Megha is the second regional airlines to have been floated by the entrepreneurs from the Telugu speaking states. It may be recalled that Vijayawada-headquartered Air Costa, which had launched its services in October 2013, has a regional operating permit and flies 34 flights daily with four Embraer jets across major Tier-II cities in the region.