Vijayawada-based regional airline Air Costa has received a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Civil Aviation for expanding its operations across the country.
Pan-India operations are likely to commence from the summer schedule 2016, Deputy CEO Vivek Choudhary said, and will connect major destinations like New Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Varanasi and Pune..
The airline will add an E190 (110-seater) this month to its fleet. This will be augmented by another aircraft in February 2016, taking the fleet size to five, to be followed by further additions later next year, he added.
To aid the expansion plan, the airline had in February 2014 placed an order for 50 E2 Jets with Embraer that are equipped with the latest avionics and upgraded engines with better fuel consumption. The airline currently uses Embraer aircraft (existing two E170 with 67 seats, two E190 with 112 seats and two newly-inducting flights with 110 seats).
Ramesh Lingamaneni, chairman of the airline said in a statement that Air Costa is a two year young airline. From operating two Embraer aircraft to five destinations with 300 employees, in a year’s time, the carrier has doubled its fleet to four aircraft and has served nine destinations with close to 800 employees.
“Since many of our metros were near saturation, we believed that the next big growth wave was going to come from the developing cities. Our vision was to the tap the burgeoning and promising tier II market by stimulating growth through better air connectivity to tier I cities,” he said.
Air Costa, South India’s first regional airline, is a part of the privately-held LEPL Group, a Vijayawada-based diversified entity with interests in property development and infrastructure development in the commercial, residential, hospitality, power (renewable energy) and health sectors.
The airline claims to have carried one million passengers in the last two years of commercial operations. It currently has 32 daily flights and connects nine cities namely Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Tirupati, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.