Air Costa becomes India’s newest airline
India’s airline industry has not seen any successful new entrants for a while, but that is changing. AirAsia’s Indian venture is getting to close to launch, while a new joint venture involving Singapore Airlines has also been revealed. However, Vijayawada-based Air Costa actually started flying on 15 October, when it launched three routes using a couple of Embraer E170s. The airline has been created by LEPL Group Ltd, whose Chairman Ramesh Lingamaneni is also Chairman of the airline.
Three routes operating, fourth one starting soon
While the airline’s on-line booking tool lists a total of six airports to choose from (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Vijayawada), closer interrogation of the system indicated that only three routes appear to be being flown at present:
- Vijayawada – Bangalore (versus Jet Airways, SpiceJet)
- Bangalore – Jaipur (versus IndiGo, SpiceJet – from 29 October)
- Jaipur – Chennai (no non-stop competition)
The airline’s booking tool indicates that a fourth route, Ahmedabad – Chennai, is bookable from 27 October. All routes are operated daily. This will bring to eight the number of sectors flown byt the two aircraft. Based on anna.aero’s analysis of the airline’s schedules the two aircraft appear at present to be operated in the following way:
|Aircraft 1||Aircraft 2|
|Vijayawada – Bangalore||Chennai – Ahmedabad (from 27 October)|
|Bangalore – Jaipur||Ahmedabad – Chennai (from 27 October)|
|Jaipur – Chennai||Chennai – Jaipur|
|Jaipur – Bangalore|
|Bangalore – Vijayawada|
|Source: Derived from Air Costa booking tool|
Two further routes, Chennai-Hyderabad and Hyderabad-Jaipur, are listed in the airline’s booking tool, but do not yet appear to be bookable. According to local media reports, the airline hopes to grow its fleet to seven aircraft before the end of the year, so anna.aero will be keeping a close eye on what other new routes the airline launches, and when. The airline will be hoping to avoid the fate of the last airline in India to launch using Embraer’s larger jets. Paramount Airways ceased operations in August 2010 having had just over 2% of the domestic market for much of 2009.