Port Blair Set to Get More Air Connectivity with Bengaluru and Hyderabad

Low-cost air carrier GoAir has added Hyderabad as its 23rd destination on its network; services to begin from October 2016. Hyderabad-Bengaluru-Port Blair are now going to be air-connected.

Earlier, India’s leading low cost air carrier, IndiGo, had introduced three new flights connecting Port Blair with Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi. Port Blair thus became IndiGo’s 41st destination.

As of now, the Mumbai based no-frills airline GoAir flies to 22 domestic airports with a fleet of 21 Airbus A320 including A320neo.

This will provide leisure and business travelers more travel options.

In a press release, GoAir said that it would add Hyderabad in its network with the launch of non-stop flight services between Hyderabad and Chennai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, & Kolkata from October 2016.

Tickets for the new flights are already up for sale, the release said, and can be booked through the company website, NC Airways, GoAir Call Centre, airport ticketing offices, and the GoAir mobile app that is available on both Apple iOS and Google Android.

“This latest addition to GoAir network reflects the airline’s phase of growth with a focus on scaling up operations gradually in the coming weeks while strengthening the value proposition to suit customer’s demand. With new additions of aircraft in coming months, GoAir will operate up to 184 daily flights by the end of December from current 144.” the airline said.

In June 2011, GoAir had placed an order with the European airplane maker, Airbus, for 72 new A320 neo aircraft valued at about Rs 3,24,000 million on list price. Thereafter, GoAir signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for another 72 A320neo aircraft at Farnborough International Airshow in July 2016.

GoAir had last month said that it planned to add five more planes in the fleet by March 2017 besides commencing international operations.

“Hyderabad is a key market in south and central India and a significant base for business and tourism in the region. Adding Hyderabad with its ideal geographical location, we reinforce our commitments towards connectivity across the country,” GoAir Chief Executive Officer Wolfgang Prock-Schaeur said in the release.

“We are happy to welcome GoAir to Hyderabad Airport. As one of the fastest growing airports in the country, our focus has been on providing more options to our passengers and with the introduction of services by GoAir, we now offer a wider range of choices in terms of destinations and frequencies. We keenly look forward to working together with GoAir towards our goal of establishing Hyderabad Airport as the gateway to south & central India,” GMR Hyderabad International Airport CEO, S G K Kishore said.

IPO Would Happen at the “Right Time”: GoAir

GoAir, owned by the Bombay-based Wadia Group, is the fifth largest airline in the country with a low passenger market share. It started its operations in 2005 and has had a slow growth owing to the tough aviation environment in India. The company says that the slow growth is strategic so as to maintain profitability.

GoAir buys A320 neosIn June 2011, budget carrier GoAir had placed an order with Airbus for 72 new A320 neo aircraft valued at about Rs 3,24,000 million. Besides, it also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for another 72 A320neo aircraft at Farnborough International Airshow in June 2016. About the MoU with Airbus, CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said the order is expected to be in place in the next 2-3 months.    “Economic things are stipulated in the MoU and only legal issues are to be worked out,” he added.

GoAir is now eligible to start international flights and is believed to have plans to come out with its initial public offering soon. It plans to raise funds through IPO to start its international operations.

GoAir had filed an application earlier this year for its International traffic rights.

GoAir has now obtained government’s approval to fly to nine countries including Iran, Uzbekistan and Kazakhastan. It expects to start international operations from the next summer schedule — which generally spans from the last Sunday of March and extends to the last Saturday of October. GoAir would be the first Indian private carrier to fly to any CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). The Ministry of Civil Aviation has awarded GoAir the ensuing routes and frequencies:neo

– Mumbai Int’l or Delhi Int’l to Tehran Imam Khomeini (Iran) – 7x weekly;
– Mumbai or Delhi to Guangzhou or Kunming Changshui (China) – 7x weekly;
– Mumbai or Delhi to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) – 7x weekly;
– Mumbai or Delhi to Malé (Maldives) – 7x weekly;
– Mumbai or Delhi to Baku (Azerbaijan) – 3x weekly;
– Delhi to Tashkent Yuzhny (Uzbekistan)/Almaty (Kazakhstan) – 4x weekly;
– Kochi Int’l or Bangalore Int’l to Doha Hamad Int’l (Qatar) – 7x weekly;
– Kochi/Thiruvananthapuram/Hyderabad Int’l/Kannur to Dammam (Saudi Arabia) – 7x weekly.

Apart from this, GoAir has said it will start seven new flights from 21 August which would connect Delhi to Jaipur, Lucknow, Mumbai, Pune and Guwahati.

Four direct flights connect Delhi, Jaipur and Lucknow. In addition, there will be three connecting flights start from Guwahati, Mumbai and Lucknow and lands at Jaipur, Lucknow and Pune respectively via Delhi.

Almost all these flights are in the afternoon time.

download (6)On the much-awaited IPO, Prock-Schauer has said that plans are on for listing and it would happen at the “right time”.  “We are preparing ourselves (for the IPO). Its a question of timing, it is about the right timing. We are not in a hurry. We will wait for the right timing. We want to be well prepared. There are many things which we need to look at (before going to stock exchange),” he said.

GoAir is aiming for 26 aircraft by end of March 2017 from the current fleet strength of 21. As GoAir prepares to expand its aircraft fleet and fly overseas, its manpower requirement is also building up. Gearing up to implement its ambitious expansion plans, GoAir plans to hire 500 personnel, including pilots, in near future.

“We will expand our fleet by up to 26 aircraft by the end of March next year. We need to build up for the expansion that we are going for. Every aircraft (inducted) needs 100 increase (in manpower) approximately. So we will naturally hire,” he told media. This would result in hiring requirement of at least 500 personnel, including a significant number of pilots. At present, GoAir’s head count is around 2,300, Prock-Schauer said.