Deccan (formerly Air Deccan), which made flying affordable for the middle-class Indian, will fly out of the sky soon. The brand Deccan will stop flying once the Karnataka high court approves the merger of Deccan Aviation—which owns the Deccan brand—into Kingfisher Airlines.
“Since there will be one airline after the merger, subject to the high court’s approval, Deccan will cease to exist,” UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya said. “The Karnataka high court is scheduled to hear the merger proposal on April 17,” he added. The merger will be effective April 1, 2008.
Kingfisher Airlines will have only the Kingfisher brand for domestic and foreign flights. There was speculation earlier that Kingfisher would be used for premium travel and Deccan for value-based travel. Captain G R Gopinath started Air Deccan in August 2003.
“I started flying frequently after Air Deccan introduced low-cost flights. Though we have many low-cost airlines now, I do not now whether I will get the same cheap fares that Deccan used to offer,” said Deepa Pillai, an executive with a management institute in Navi Mumbai.
On March 17, the Director-General of Civil Aviation issued a letter of approval to Deccan Aviation to fly abroad from August 20, 2008. Under DGCA guidelines, Indian airlines can fly abroad once they complete five years of domestic operations.
A re-branding exercise has altered Deccan’s look. Kingfisher and Deccan will have the same colours. Mallya has been investing heavily to promote the Kingfisher Airline brand and recently entered into a Rs 106 crore sponsorship agreement for Indian Premier League cricket. Mallya’s UB Group has invested more than Rs 1,000 crore to acquire a controlling stake in Deccan and has been improving its services to bring it on a par with Kingfisher Airlines.