After much delay due to airport slot constraints, Captain Gopinath’s Air Deccan
is set to relaunch operations with its first flight under the government's Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme on December 23.
Air Deccan, which was India’s first domestic budget airline, will initially start operations from four cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Shillong
— and connect its passengeRe to smaller cities. Tickets can be booked on the airline’s website from Thursday.
“The common man takes to the skies again,” read the slogan of the airline in a newspaper advertisement on Wednesday. The airline also said it would offer Re 1 ticket
to a few passengeRe through a lucky draw as part of its promotional campaign.
transformed the business of Indian aviation in 2003 by establishing air links to small towns with fares as low as Rs 700. It also pioneered the Re 1 fare.
“People remember us for the Re 1 fare, but there were many other innovations. We were the first to introduce e-ticketing in India and thus put the ticket inventory directly in the customer’s hands,” Gopinath had earlier told Business Standard.
The company was founded in 2003 by Gopinath and merged with Kingfisher Airlines in 2008. Later, it was rebranded Kingfisher Red. The company’s operations were stopped due to financial problems in 2012.
The Udan scheme
aims to connect small towns, offering fares as low as Rs 2,500 for a one-hour flight. Air Deccan
will also operate daily return flights between Nashik and Pune, and Mumbai
The airline’s plans of starting operations slowed down due to Delhi
airport authorities not offering it slots.
As these planes do not need to pay a fee, they do not provide profits to these airports. It was only after several requests were made to the aviation ministry that Gopinath got the necessary slots.