The Telegraph
Sunday , May 25 , 2014
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Air Costa gains altitude

New Delhi, May 24: Regional carrier Air Costa has achieved a higher passenger load factor in April, beating top low-frill airlines IndiGo and GoAir.

Air Costa managed to achieve a load factor of 77.8 per cent, while IndiGo and GoAir clocked 76.9 per cent and 76.1 per cent, respectively, according to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Passenger load factor is an indicator of occupancy in an aircraft.

The airline, owned by Vijayawada-based real estate company LEPL Group, is planing to fly on international routes by 2018.

At present, it is looking to start pan-India operations by next year, by when it expects to receive at least three of the 50 Embraers it has ordered.

“We hope the increase in flights and destinations will help us to increase our market share. We are aiming for at least a 2.5 per cent per month increase in our load factor,” said Air Costa chairman and promoter Ramesh Lingamaneni.

The airline, which started operations in October, has a fleet of four, comprising two-types of Embraer aircraft, and flies to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Vijayawada. It recently announced two new services from Hyderabad to Bangalore and Coimbatore.

“South Indian tier 2 and 3 cities still lack proper air connectivity. However, with the industry growing in the south and many business travellers making frequent visits to the region, we believe we have tremendous scope for growth. Also, there are many major tourist destinations here and people want direct air connections,” said Lingamaneni.

The carrier operates 28 daily flights and will soon start operations to cities such as Goa, Pune and Madurai. However, it plans to start operations across the country by next year. It is in the process of applying for permit for the same.

“We are studying all the routes where operations can be started. Airports in tier 2 and 3 towns are coming up which will give us more options for future operations. We plan to apply for a pan-India permit before the end of the year,” said Pramod Mitta, manager (corporate and media relations) at Air Costa.