Air Deccan Re 1 offer: Yet another airfare sale has been unveiled and this one is like taking a trip virtually free! Yes, you read that right! India’s first domestic low-cost airline is set to relaunch operations this month. The airline has made a return with a tagline that reads, ‘the common man takes to the skies again.’ It follows that one up with this, ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’ The pioneer of low-cost airlines in the country which later merged with now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, on its relaunch this week will give a lucky few the golden opportunity to fly for just Rs. 1! The first Air Deccan flight will take-off on December 22 and fly to Mumbai from Nashik, Nashik to Pune and Mumbai to Jalgaon. Air Deccan was founded in 2003 and then merged with Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines in 2008 but was grounded in 2012 under financial distress. In its second innings, the airline will begin with four bases at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Shillong, connecting them with smaller cities around them. Do note that daily return flights start from 23 December.
Among five carriers, Air Deccan had also won the rights to operate UDAN flights in the first round of bidding held in March. The airline says that bookings open tomorrow for UDAN fares starting at Rs 1420. Under the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) of the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, also known as UDAN (‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’), airfares are capped at Rs. 2,500 per person for an hour’s flight to Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in which the government will provide subsidy for keeping tickets at low prices. It is aimed to boost air connectivity to and from unserved and under-served airports and making flying more affordable.
Simplifly Deccan, formerly Air Deccan, was the first Indian low-cost carrier. Headquartered in Bangalore, it operated domestic flights from seven base airports using a fleet of Airbus A320, ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft. The airline appealed to middle-class travellers with low fares and a large route network. It also employed several innovative methods to ensure the profitability of its business model. Nevertheless, Simplifly Deccan suffered high losses and merged with Kingfisher Airlines in April 2008. Kingfisher replaced the Deccan brand with Kingfisher Red in August 2008.
Air Deccan was launched amid a booming Indian economy and a growing middle class and the airline targeted middle-class travellers with its low fares and extensive route network. Tickets cost around 30% less than those of full-service airlines and cost about the same as or less than first class rail tickets. Air Deccan focused on providing air service to underserved airports across the country, where competition was low and the airline could acquire a loyal customer base.