Air Costa, a regional airline which until now was focusing on southern India, has obtained a no-objection certificate from the civil aviation ministry for pan-India operations. The LEPL group-promoted carrier, which operates 32 daily flights and connects nine cities in southern India, said in a statement on Friday it hopes to start pan-India operations from next summer, before which it plans to add two more aircraft to its fleet of four.
"We shall also be adding an E190 (110 seater) this month to our fleet. This followed by an addition in February 2016," deputy chief executive officer Vivek Choudhary said.
Air Costa, which had started operations to five cities in October 2013 with two Embraer aircraft, has doubled its fleet size and now serves Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Tirupati, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. Its staff strength has increased to 800 employees from 300 earlier, according to chairman Ramesh Lingamaneni.
"This is a formidable step in the journey of Air Costa towards being a sustainable airline in India," Lingamaneni said, adding that the regional airline would connect major destinations like Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Varanasi and Pune.
Air Costa uses Embraer E170 (67 seats) and E190 (112 seats) jets. In February last year, the carrier had signed a deal with aircraft maker Embraer SA to buy 50 jets involving an investment of nearly $3 billion.
Economic Times - India