The Captain G. R. Gopinath-promoted Deccan Shuttles, a specialised wing under Deccan Charters Ltd, on Monday launched its daily charter flights in Gujarat aiming to connect five economic centres in the western State by the year-end.

However, the company has no plans, for now, to set up a major cargo hub in Gujarat, a senior official said.

The company also plans to buy two new Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft at a cost of nearly $6 million (Rs 30 crore), Mr Sanjay Saihgal, Vice President-Business Development, told Business Line here.

Deccan Charters currently has a fleet of 17 aircraft (12 helicopters and 5 fixed-wing) operated in different States.

In its new daily, unscheduled charter flight model, which could be expanded to other States, Deccan Shuttles covers all major industrial and business centres in Gujarat — Ahmedabad, Surat, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Kandla — to provide intra-state air connectivity. Until now, these tier-II and III cities were connected by air to either Delhi or Mumbai.

Deccan Shuttles will provide this daily multiple service in Gujarat using the nine-seater Cessna, he said, adding the company expected to break even in nine months. If needed, Deccan Shuttles could summon aircraft from Mumbai to meet the demand.

The company will launch the service on the Ahmedabad-Kandla route on August 27 and the Ahmedabad-Jamnagar route on September 10.

The inaugural flight was on the Ahmedabad-Surat-Bhavnagar-Surat-Bhavnagar-Surat-Ahmedabad route. At present, the 400-km-long road journey between Bhavnagar and Surat takes 8 to 10 hours. With the introduction of air connectivity in the Bhavnagar-Surat segment it will now take only 40 minutes to fly across the Gulf of Cambay. The fare will range between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,500 per ticket on these routes.

Col. (Retd) Jayanth Poovaiah, Director and CEO, said with this service, the company is also introducing Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft. The company currently manages, maintains or operates over 60 aircraft.

“Our charter services include corporate charters, heli-tourism, heli-pilgrimage, medical evacuation, banner towing, geophysical and mapping services and offshore and logistics support,” he added.

(This article was published on August 20, 2012)
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