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Air Deccan ready to take off

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE SEPT. 19. Air Deccan, Bangalore based regional airline will launch full operations from September 19 with about 18 flights a day. The promoters of Deccan Aviation Pvt. Ltd., a helicopter charter company that owns Air Deccan also expect to divest 20 per cent of their holdings in the parent company by April next, to expand business.

Five high net worth individual promoters account for the company's paid up equity of Rs. 10 crores. Deccan Aviation has also raised debt from Bank of India. The company has revenues of about Rs. 30 crores. It has also made a foray into tourism packages using its helicopters.

Air Deccan, connects major cities in the South at about 50 per cent the rates offered by competitors, on a no-frills basis. With a turnaround time of 15 minutes, it will ultimately operate 70 flights a day in three months, says Capt. G. R. Gopinath, Managing Director.

A heightened security atmosphere delayed clearances for the foreign pilots who were here to help Air Deccan's pilots on their 120 hour "familiarisation'' requirement as per DGCA norms, Mr. Gopinath said. Of the 42 pilots in the airline, 20 had completed the process, and the rest would finish soon, he said.

Air Deccan now connects Bangalore with Chennai, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, and Coimbatore. It is flying two of seven 48-seater ATR-42-320 aircraft leased from a French company Avions de Transport Regionale. The remaining five would be here by November, the MD said. Deccan Aviation expects to lease three more business jets and buy most of the nine helicopters it originally leased. The company also has two 11-seater Pilatus business jets and is talking to Lear Jet and Cessna for leasing their jets.

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