Air Deccan Hopes To Cross 2 Million Passengers Mark By March 2005

Bangalore, March 28 | Updated: Mar 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Air Deccan, the countrys first low cost carrier hopes to cross two million passengers by March 31, 2005, a top official at the airliner said.

The no-frills airline plans to further reduce its fare once all our aircrafts are in place and routes are stabilised, Capt. GR Gopinath, managing director, Air Deccan, said.

The airline plans to have seven air buses by September 2004. Three A-320s will be delivered this June followed by two in February and two in September, he said.

The airbus flights will operate between Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai sectors in the first phase, and Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kochi and New Delhi sectors will be covered in the second phase, he said.

There will be return flights from all these cities daily. However, the airline is still working on the routes, Mr Gopinath said.

The airline, which already has four ATRs, will be acquiring three more soon, he said.

From April 15, the airline will be linking all cities in Maharashtra and Gujarat, which have poor connectivity. The fights will operate in Mumbai-Surat, Mumbai-Bhavnagar, Mumbai-Kolhapur, Kolhapur-Belgaum, Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad-Baroda, Ahmedabad-Bhuj and Rajkot-Jamnagar routes, he added.

Air Deccans New Delhi sector will be launched this year with flights operating in Dehradun-Agra, Agra-Jaipur, Delhi-Jaipur, Jaipur-Udaipur, Delhi-Jaisalmer, Delhi-Kulu, Delhi-Shimla, Jalandhar-Ludhiana and Amritsar-Chandigarh routes, Mr Gopinath said.

The first airline to start e-ticketing, 30 per cent of its sales is through call centres, 30 per cent through travel agents and the rest through the Internet, he said.

Since travellers are still not very net savvy when it comes to buying tickets, a significant number is generated by its call centre operated by Customer First, a Bangalore-based company in this space, he said.

We have had 2.4 million visitors to our website so far, he added.

Air Deccan is also holding discussions with the the Taj group of hotels, the Oberoi and the Taj Budget group for a common global reservation system to incorporate their bookings along with car rentals on its booking network as part of its value-added service to the customer, Mr Gopinath said.

The airline hopes to achieve its target of crossing $2 million by March-end, 2005, he said.

-PTI