Air Costa
Air CostaAir Costa/ Facebook

Regional carrier Air Costa has obtained permission to run flights across the country and it is expected to operate flights to Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Varanasi and Pune from next summer.

The airline, promoted by Vijayawada-based construction firm LEPL Group, has received a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the ministry of civil aviation to have a pan-India presence.

"Pan-India operations shall commence from the summer schedule 2016," said Vivek Choudhary, deputy chief executive officer at Air Costa.

Currently, the South Indian regional airline runs 32 daily flights linking nine cities such Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Tirupati, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.

The carrier will expand its fleet to five aircraft by February 2016 by adding two Embraer E190 (110 seater) aircraft, Choudhary said.

Air Costa, which started its operations two years ago, currently holds a market share of 1% in domestic traffic.

But Air Costa's pan-India plans may be difficult to execute as many regional carriers had failed to taste success as they were hit by huge cost and poor demand.

Owing to poor bookings, Religare Voyages Ltd, which runs Air Mantra, had shut down its operations just after eight months of running flights, Mint reported. Air Mantra operated daily flights connecting Amritsar and Chandigarh.

Similarly, MDLR Airlines Pvt. Ltd stopped its operations in October 2009. The operators such as Star Aviation Pvt. Ltd, ZAV Airways Pvt. Ltd, Jagson Airlines Ltd and King Air Pvt. Ltd, who got approval to run regional flights, staying away from starting operations due to "high jet fuel prices and the economic slowdown of 2008".

However, Air Costa chairman Ramesh Lingamaneni is optimistic about the airline's growth as he sees "next big growth" coming from tier II and III cities. He said that the carrier is looking to purchase more planes to run flight to these cities.

Also read