New air charter firm's fares equal to biz class of airlines

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 23, 2009 20:10 hrs

It claims to be the country’s first low-cost air charter operation. It will offer destinations either not connected or with limited connection, but at the same fare you would pay for a business class ticket. All you have to do is to ensure there are three customers travelling together on its Cirrus aircraft (which has three seats).

Aviation enterpreneuer Manav Singh, who owns Club One which offers aircraft on fractional ownership, and Uttam Kumar Bose, former CEO of Air Sahara, today launched Air Car, the country’s first low-cost air charter, with Delhi as a base. Initially, the charters will fly out of Delhi and service cities within a 500 km radius. Said Manav Singh, the chairman, "Air Car is 50 per cent cheaper than any available air charter service currently operating for similar distances and is priced competitively to a business class ticket of an airline."

While a business class traveller of an airline has to pay around Rs 10,000 for a journey from Delhi to Chandigarh and back , he can charter a three-seater aircraft at Air Car for Rs 60,000 for three people, which amounts to him paying the same fare per passenger. Additionally, Singh adds, the passenger saves on journey time, as he is not constrained to the scheduled flights run by airlines.

And, passengers can commute to places not connected by airlines. Bose, managing director, said: "Agra, Baddi, Pantnagar, Dehradun, Ludhiana have emerged as new business hubs in northern India. However, airlines do not have flights to such places. Air Car offers them the option to travel faster to these places at reasonable rates."

Singh sees tremendous potential in the low-cost air charter business. "Nearly 50,000 people travel business class at least once a year in India. Of them, even if 40 per cent shifts to flying with Air Car, the air charter business would grow to having 20,000 subscribers from the current 200 over the next two years. This is a growth of nearly 10,000 per cent."

To this end, Air Car has already started negotiations with corporate houses and small to medium businesses, to offer travel packages which would enable them to fly to any place in the country against 100 hours of bookings.

Air Car now has two Cirrus SR-22 GTS aircraft and has placed orders for another 10 such carriers. It plans to add two to three aircraft every quarter and expand operations to all state capitals and major towns/cities by 2013. After Delhi, the company plans to launch operations in Maharashtra.

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