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Fledgling airlines set to spread wings over Gujarat

Low-cost, start-up airlines are eyeing the increasing air-traveller base in the expanding industrial towns of Gujarat.

india Updated: May 31, 2010 23:01 IST
Prasad Nichenametla
Prasad Nichenametla
Hindustan Times

Low-cost, start-up airlines are eyeing the increasing air-traveller base in the expanding industrial towns of Gujarat.

According to Gujarat civil aviation officials, airlines are keen on flight operations between the state’s two major cities — Ahmedabad and Surat — as well as the other industrial/ commercial and far-flung centres, such as Bhuj, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Bhavnagar.

“We have Luan Airlines which will launch its ATR flights between Surat and other towns like Bhuj, Bhavnagar and Rajkot in two months. One more company, Ventura, is also planning to launch operations between Ahmedabad and other towns,” Vipul Mittra, secretary, tourism and civil aviation, told Hindustan Times.

With industrial clusters, such as parks and SEZs, scattered over places far away from Ahmedabad, and with negligible flight operations of mainstream airlines to nearby towns like Rajkot and Bhuj, Gujarat provides immense business potential for airlines that can reduce hours of travelling time to minutes.

Luan is said to be starting its operations with a fleet of one or two aircrafts (ATR, with a capacity of around 50).

"Gujarat has immense potential for air traffic but is very poorly connected by air. The thrust on industrialisation (from processing industries, petrochemicals to power projects) along with development of ports etc is generating a great deal of travel demand from both corporates and individuals. Gujarati people are big spenders by nature and frequent travellers both for business and leisure. Hence, we thought Gujarat would provide us with the right platform to launch operations,” a Luan representative said.

Like other startups, the low cost airlines will initially function as regional airlines and then plan for connecting cities at the national level. Such airlines primarily target low density point-to-point connectivity.

Counting the Sardar Vallabhai Patel International Airport at Ahmedabad, Gujarat has around 10 small to medium sized airports at locations like Rajkot, Porbandar, Bhuj etc. A new international airport is proposed at Federa, around 100 km southwest of Ahmedabad.

First Published: May 31, 2010 22:59 IST