Air Costa expects break-even in operations by 2015

Written by PTI | Hyderabad | Updated: Feb 26 2014, 01:36am hrs
AThe Vijayawada-based operator is currently operating 12 flights a week. Express
India's start-up regional airline Air Costa expects to achieve break-even in operations by March 2015 even as it plans to add as many as 10 aircraft to the fleet, its chairman Ramesh Lingamaneni said today.

The Vijayawada-based operator is currently operating 12 flights a week with 2 aircraft, enjoying 70 to 75 per cent occupancy rate.

"We are expecting break-even with five aircrafts by 2014-15. That is our expectation. By 2015, we plan to expand our operations pan India also. Currently, two aircraft are operating and another two will be operational by next month," Lingamaneni told PTI.

"During the summer schedule there will be 24 to 25 flights a week. Currently there are 12 flights a week," he said.

Air Costa had recently placed a firm order for 50 jets with Embraer, the world's largest maker of regional aircraft, in a deal valued at USD 2.94 billion.

The Brazil-based company said Air Costa had options for an additional 50 purchase rights for E190-E2 jets.

Lingamaneni Estates group (now rechristened LEPL) has so far invested around USD 100 million in the company and is gearing up to invest additional funds as and when required, he said.

"From January 2018 onwards, delivery of four aircraft will be taken every year for the next 20 years. It is a business plan for the next 20 years. It is a 100 aircraft deal with 50 firm and 50 optional," Lingamaneni explained.

Replying to a query, he said the closely-held company is not looking at any investments from outside currently even though some of the airlines and investors have approached it.

The strategy as of now is to connect tier-II and III cities with metros, he said.