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New biz style: Let?s hire an aircraft!

MORE AND more city entrepreneurs like to fly to places where routine flights don?t land! What? But, how? Simple. By hiring an air charter. That?s how city?s neo-business boys have triggered a new trend which promises to pick up a jet speed in future. The catchphrases are: ?Time matters. Money doesn?t, so fly.? This go-by-flight brigade comes from Lucknow and Kanpur.
None | By Santosh Chowdhury
PUBLISHED ON JUL 31, 2006 12:59 AM IST

MORE AND more city entrepreneurs like to fly to places where routine flights don’t land!

What? But, how? Simple. By hiring an air charter. That’s how city’s neo-business boys have triggered a new trend which promises to pick up a jet speed in future. The catchphrases are: ‘Time matters. Money doesn’t, so fly.’ This go-by-flight brigade comes from Lucknow and Kanpur.

The requisitions for air charter services are routed through the regional offices of large travel houses in the city to the concerned airline for booking the aircraft for cities in the neighbouring states such as Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

In Bihar, the most frequently flown route in the charter segment is Patna mostly by groups of small and medium entrepreneurs from Lucknow and  Kanpur while the routes flown commonly in MP are typically Indore and Jabalpur. The aircraft normally hired are mostly 6 to 20-seater twin-engine turboprops which don’t fly at very high altitudes.

On an average Lucknow gets about five bookings of charter services while Kanpur gets  more than eight in a month from reasonably wealthy small and medium entrepreneurs, a prominent tour operator in the city told Ht Lucknow Live.

He said that the average cost of a 20- seater turboprop aircraft hired for 12 hours works out to be Rs 1.20 lakh which includes airport parking and other charges. “The costs are slightly lower for a six-seater. But, it  is not below Rs 70,000,” he said.

Moreover, there is at least one educational institute in the State which hires air charter services for educational tours.

“The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur had been hiring charter services of  20-seater aircraft for taking students and faculty to Madhya Pradesh as Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur have no direct air connectivity either from Lucknow or Kanpur,” says Head ( UP & Uttaranchal) of Delhi Express Holidays Vivek Pandey.

He said that IIT Kanpur had been hiring charters from Air Deccan. The tariff for air charters depends upon the number of flying hours, airport parking charges and the hours the aircraft would remain at a particular station besides other charges,  Pandey says. 

It is a well-known fact that the high networth individuals in Lucknow and Kanpur also hire charter services at times which are restricted to  marriage ceremonies when a large number of people are to be flown into Lucknow or Kanpur from either Mumbai or Delhi , he added.

“Large corporate houses obviously don’t hire aircraft from tour operators as they already have their own fleet to fly anywhere”, he says. However, with a virtual fare war going on among all the airlines, the market for charter services has not picked up as it should have from regional hubs such as Lucknow and Kanpur, Pandey says.

It may be recalled that the Union Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel on his visit to Lucknow in June had talked about his ministry working on a policy to encourage low-cost airlines to fly on feeder routes connecting Lucknow and Kanpur with a host of cities not served by larger airlines in the country.

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