Flight Plan

Carry the plane of your dreams in your pocket!

Ashwini Phadnis | | Updated on: Apr 17, 2018

Entrepreneurs tempt aviation buffs with merchandise such as themed watches, scale models, et al

There are different ways in which aviation enthusiasts show their interest in flying and everything associated with it. Some try and spot different aircraft types as they take off or land, others try and understand the mechanism of how a plane flies and still others collect aviation merchandise.

That is why interest in scale models of civil aircraft, aviation-themed watches which have an aircraft on the seconds needle, pilot merchandise like bag tags used by pilots, tie-pins with a small aircraft, and other such items, seems to be growing.

Stickers, bag tags too

“Plastic items are the top selling,” says Darshan V Bangera, promoter, DB Jets, adding that most of his customers come from among those for whom aviation is a hobby, collectors of trinkets, pilots and others connected with aviation. Bangera loves aviation and flying. Hence, the launch of DB Jets helped this former cabin crew member with Air India, whose career was cut short by a lower back injury just after a year, to live his dream.

There are many other aviation lovers like him. For example, at the Hyderabad Air Show in March this year, one saw Captain Ramesh Sanil, an Air India pilot with over three decades of experience, purchasing various tie-pins from the Flight 4 Fantasy stall.

“Stickers for flights, keychains, bag tags, tie-pins and cuff links, apart from aircraft models, are the five or six top items that a pilot is most likely to pick from such a store,” he said.

This interest in aviation merchandise is also helping entrepreneurs like Deepak Agarwal to cash in on demand.

Boarding call for business

Director of Bengaluru-based Flight 4 Fantasy, Agarwal launched his business in 2012 selling aircraft models by Hogan Wings, a scale model manufacturer based in Germany and Hong Kong. In 2015, he approached Airbus and today he sells official merchandise for Airbus and also AirAsia.

A spokesperson for Airbus told Business Line that such commercial agreements (like the one with Flight 4 Fantasy) provide an opportunity to aviation enthusiasts in India to own scale models of Airbus products. Airbus Europe has two resellers in India — Mach9Pilotshop and Flight 4 Fantasy. Agarwal’s four retail outlets, including one at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, report annual sales of around 80 lakh.

At Flight 4 Fantasy, an Airbus aircraft scale model made of dye cast and high grade poly material retails for 1,100 to 15,000, while watches retail for between 2,300 and 13,500 for a watch that has the Airbus A350 Extra Wide Body aircraft made on it. Bag tags and other such items retail from 399 to 799.

“Most of our sales are offline. People just walk in and pick up what they like,” says Agarwal.

However, a spokesperson for AirAsia India told Business Line that Flight 4 Fantasy was not its official vendor. “They are specialists in selling airline-related merchandise and were interested in selling our range of products through their offline channels. We are open to supplying our branded merchandise to other suppliers who are interested as well,” the spokesperson added.

Published on April 17, 2018

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