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Friday, November 4, 2011

Flying Soon: New low cost carrier Air Pegasus to connect 9 Southern cities

Shyson Thomas, MD, Air Pegasus. Photo Yugesh Kumar

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service

Bangalore: When 10-year-old Shyson Thomas was sent to the Sunday school at the Santa Cruz Cathedral, Fort Kochi in Kerala, he sneaked out with his friends to test-fly hand-made paper planes in the backyard. Result: Early lessons in the science of flying, plus stunning stares from the nuns.
At the age of 32, Shyson started De’Cor Aviation in Bangalore, supporting various airlines with ground-handling activities. Result: Close encounters with plane truth and eye-witness account on how money came and went in aviation industry.
Later at 49, he stared fixing wings to his dreams, silently painting them with his favourite red colour. Result: Air Pegasus, a regional low cost carrier (LCC) connecting major South Indian cities, is ready for take-off.
“I am inspired by Jet Airways boss Naresh Goel. In aviation you need long-term vision,” Shyson, MD, Air Pegasus, said during a one-to-one with Express. Air Pegasus will be a no-frill airline, but he promises that the thrill will still stay. “The minimum fare will be around Rs 2,000 (including taxes) and the maximum Rs 3,000, unless the ATF (aviation jet fuel) prices really go up. My USPs will be fare advantage and good connectivity in South,” he claims.
The airline will operate in Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Hubli, Mangalore and Goa sectors.
Civil Aviation Ministry sources confirm to Express that a high-powered committee, during its 154th meeting in New Delhi on September 14 had recommended a no-objection certificate (NOC) for Air Pegasus. “Once the formal NOC is issued, the airline will have to import the aircraft, obtain AOP (Airline Operating Permit) and file engineering, operational and security manuals. The schedule will then have to be approved by the Director General of Civil Aviation,” sources said.
Set to begin operations in 2012, touching 26 sectors daily, Air Pegasus fleet will consist of a total 10 aircraft in the next five years. “We have Bombardier Q400 (78-seater) and ATR72-500 (70-seater) on our radar and will finalise one soon. Two aircraft will operate from Kochi, our engineering base, and one from Bangalore, our corporate headquarter,” he says.Is Air Pegasus hitting the skies at a wrong time, when many have burnt their fingers and even portion of hands! “Not at all,” says Shyson, adding: “There is enough space in South left for a LCC. On-time performance, lesser cancellation and low fare are vital for survival. I have hand-picked a young, lean and mean team to handle various portfolios.”Shyson’s confidence probably comes out from the lessons he learnt as a start-up ground-handling agent for Air Deccan in southern sector from 2003-2008. “I have seen in and out of Air Deccan,” he says.


LIKELY FARE*

Bangalore-Chennai: Rs 2,000
Bangalore-Hubli: Rs 2,000
Bangalore-Coimbatore: Rs 2,000
Bangalore-Kochi: Rs 2,500
Bangalore-Mangalore: Rs 2,500
Bangalore-T’puram: Rs 2,850
Bangalore-Hyderabad: Rs 3,000
Bangalore-Goa: Rs 3,000
(*Not final)

(Now on, you will occasionally find stories related to civil aviation on Tarmak007, as the blogger needs to keep an eye on that sector too in the new profile at Express.) 

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