Air Sahara announces international hub in Hyderabad

Air Sahara announces international hub in Hyderabad

Friday, 05 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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HYDERABAD: Air Sahara Friday said it will make the Andhra Pradesh capital the airline's hub for domestic and international operations at an investment of $20 million.

Announcing the project with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S Rajasekhara Reddy, Air Sahara president Ronojoy Dutta, who was at one time the president of United Airlines in the US, said the creation of a hub in Hyderabad will see the airline operate 140 flights from the city by February from 28 at present.

"Air Sahara passengers will not only benefit hugely from lower travel cost but also see travel time get reduced by a dramatic 50 percent," Dutta said. "It's virtually a highway in the sky we are building here."

Reddy said that his government had taken a conscious decision to make Hyderabad a preferred destination and a hub for all air traffic operations in the country by announcing major fiscal concessions on aviation turbine fuel.

"Airlines that operate more than 140 flights per week will get 25 percent of the 30 percent sales tax they pay on air fuel, while those operating more than 100 flights will get back 15 percent of the sales tax," he said.

Hyderabad will soon see no less than 500 flights operating out the city every week -- not only to generate employment but also to add to the state's revenues, he said.

Dutta explained that in phase one of Air Sahara's project, domestic cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Cochin, Bangalore, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Lucknow will be connected.

"The additional services are being opened for sale from today and service will commence from Feb 3, 2005," said Dutta, a former president of United Airlines. The plan is to operate 217 flights a week by 2006 and serve 25 destinations.

In phase two, international cites such as Kathmandu and Colombo will be connected to the hub. "Air Sahara also intends to fly to destinations like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and London once the government gives the necessary permission."

Under the new system of a hub being introduced in India by Air Sahara, passengers will leave their stations latest by 12 noon and reach their destinations by 2 p.m.

For operations to eight cities, if Air Sahara currently has around 50 passengers per city under the current system and one flight per city, the load factor is just 40 percent on a Boeing 737-300.

But in the new system, the load factor can dramatically increase to 76 percent and the airline can even operate two flights to the eight cities, Dutta explained.

"We chose Hyderabad because it is strategically located not only to connect north with the south, but also the east with the west," he said. "It is a good location to serve countries in East, the Middle East, Europe and United States."

Source: IANS
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