MDLR Airlines, the aviation arm of Gurgaon-based real estate and hospitality group MDLR, has chalked out ambitious plans to map a pan-India footprint connecting metropolitan cities with with Tier II towns through low capacity regional jets.
"The airline would connect Ranchi and Kolkata with Chandigarh six times a week, initially, and would be offering full-service, twin class configuration and special fares. At this point Ranchi and Kolkata are not connected by too many full-service airlines and the line is mostly serviced by low-cost carriers," Gopal Goyal, MDLR's chairman, told Hindustan Times.
The airline, which has already started commercial operations between Chandigarh and Delhi, plans to extend its operations to Mumbai, Surat, Jaipur, Bhavnagar and Goa and few other northern cities in the coming months.
"The flights to Jaipur should commence in the next couple of weeks," Goyal said.
The carrier currently operates with two four-engine Avro RJ70 planes made by British Aerospace Systems (BAe) and is looking at a fleet size of eight to ten aircraft by the end of 2007-08.
"We are expecting two more aircraft to come in by September this year," said Koustav M Dhar, President, Commercial and Special Projects, in the airline.
"MDLR Airlines will operate on a full-service regional operator business model. Our research has shown that about 48 per cent of the passenger load factor (PLF) comes from the non-metro routes, and our aim is to tap this segment," Goyal said.
"Our fares will about 10 to 12 per cent lower full-service carriers with all the services that they offer. We will be offering dynamic pricing of eight levels of fares, starting from Rs 1,000," he said.
Dhar indicated that besides British Aerospace (BAe), the company was also looking at leasing or acquiring regional jets from companies such as Canada's Bombardier and Brazil's Embraer.
"We are planning to launch our exclusive loungess at different non-metro capitals and are also in the process of introducing a City Lounge check-in facility at Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh," Goyal said.
The airline is currently building its check-in counters, offices in all its destinations and plans to make Chandigarh as a large regional jet hub after Delhi and Jaipur in northern India.