India's latest low-cost airline Air Pegasus on Sunday launched its maiden service to Hubballi in north Karnataka for providing air connectivity in the region.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju flagged off the ATR-72 turboprop service at the Bengaluru international airport in the presence of state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra and others.
Hubballi, about 400 km from here, is a major commercial centre in the region, with a cluster of small and medium industries. Its twin city Dharwad is a major educational centre in the state.
"We will operate a daily flight between Bengaluru and Hubbali in the morning. The timings will be convenient to take connecting flights to other metros and cities from here," Air Pegasus managing director Shyson Thomas told reporters.
The city-based Decor Aviation Ltd, which secured permit from the regulator (DGCA) to fly across the southern region, will launch a daily service to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on Monday using an ATR aircraft.
"The new routes with a regional focus will help local business and boost tourism. We see huge potential for both business and leisure travel," union minister Raju said on the occasion.
The company has invested Rs.100 crore to launch the air service, with 3:1 equity-debt ratio.
The airline plans to add three more 66-seater ATR aircraft to the two such aircraft it has on dry lease by December.
"Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh will be our third destination from Bengaluru as it has no air connectivity. We will also launch a daily service between Chennai and Tuticorin and Tuticorin-Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu when we get the additional three ATRs," Thomas said.
Using the hub-and-spoke model, the airline plans to operate daily service to other cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana over the next two years.
The airline has permit to launch service to and from any of the 22 airports across southern India, connecting tier-two and tier-three cities with cities and metros like Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Air Pegasus is the ninth carrier in the country and third new airline to launch service after Air Asia and Vistara during the past 12 months.