New Delhi, December 27, 2017: India’s first low-cost carrier Air Deccan, which ceased operations after being acquired by erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, took wings again as a commuter airline on Saturday with its maiden flight taking off for Jalgaon from Mumbai.
The flight, DN 1320, got airborne at 2.55 pm for Jalgaon in North Maharashtra, around 400 km from Mumbai, where it landed at sharp 4 pm amid the traditional water cannon salute.
The flight was inaugurated by Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil along with Air Deccan chairman Captain G R Gopinath.
Air Deccan’s strategic partners Shaishav Shah of Ahmedabad-based GSEC Ltd and Himanshu Shah of Monarch Networth Capital as well as senior DGCA officials were on-board the 19-seater Beechcraft 1900 D aircraft according to moneycontrol.com.
The flight took off the ground around 2.55 pm instead of the scheduled departure of 1.20 pm due to some airport- related issues.
Addressing a small function at the Jalgaon airport to mark the arrival of the first scheduled flight, Gopinath said the objective of the relaunch of Air Deccan was to realise an unfulfilled dream, and to provide connectivity to all parts of Maharashtra as well as other regions of the country.
“We plan to connect Satara, Solapur, Latur and many many more cities of the state with Mumbai,” he said.
Air Deccan, which was granted the scheduled commuter operator’s permit by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to launch air services under the Government’s regional connectivity scheme, Udan, has started flights to Jalgaon and Nashik from Mumbai and Pune, and will soon connect Kolhapur as well, Gopinath said.
In the first phase, it will operate 36 flights per week.
Earlier, talking to PTI at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Gopinath said he was feeling fortunate to see Air Deccan taking to skies again. “It’s a sense of great beginning. A sense of being fortunate that Air Deccan is taking off again,” he said.
There was a dream of taking flying to every possible corner of the country, which did not come to fruition because of Air Deccan’s merger with the Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, he said.
“Now I have the opportunity to rebuild operations across the country,” said the pioneer of low-cost aviation in India.
Later, the flight took off for Nashik via Mumbai after a brief halt at the CSIA airport here and then to Pune.
Air Deccan bagged 34 routes in the first phase of bidding for Udan scheme, which caps fares at Rs 2,500 for a flight of under-hour duration.
For the Jalgaon flight, the airline has pegged fares at Rs 2,250 for 50 per cent of the seats, to be operated under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, while the price for the remaining nine seats will be Rs 4,500, an official said.
Under Udan, operators have been allowed to sell 50 per cent of the seats at market rates while the remaining seats are to be sold at subsidised rates.