Air Deccan set to take off from Sri lanka this year

New Delhi, July 28 | Updated: Jul 29 2006, 04:26am hrs
Deccan Aviation, which operates the low-cost carrier Air Deccan, will start its international operations out of Sri Lanka in October this year. Deccan has chosen its Sri Lankan arm, Deccan Aviation (Lanka) to kickstart its international operations because Indian domestic carriers cannot fly overseas unless they have a 5 year experience of flying in the domestic market.

They must also have a fleet-size of at least 20 aircraft.Air Deccan, which launched Indias first low cost airline service in August, 2003, does not qualify on the basis of number of years until August 2008 but with a fleet of 36 aircraft, it already fulfills the other criterion.Initially the services will connect the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo to the southern Indian cities of Trivandrum, Madurai, Coimbatore, Cochin and Trichi.Three ATR turbo-prop aircrafts will be deployed on the route.We have already applied for the required licences from the government of Sri Lanka. Plans will only be finalised after we visit the country next month, Air Deccan managing director GR Gopinath told FE.

However, they were not looking at any other international market at present,he said.The domestic market in India offers tremendous growth opportunities. I am not even trying to compete with other low-cost airlines but with the Indian Railways. If I can lure even 10% of train passengers to airlines industry, it will be a major push for the low cost carriers,Gopinath said.

At present,Deccan is flying to 56 destinations and claims to be the second largest airline by marketshare, next only to Jet Airways.

Fly High
Deccan chose its Sri Lankan arm, Deccan Aviation tostart its international operations
It will connect Colombo to Trivandrum, Madurai, Coimbatore, Cochin and Trichi
Air Deccan is not looking at any other international market at present