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Air One in fray to apply for licence to fly

October 24, 2013 16:23 IST

Following the entry of Tata-SIA and AirAsia into the Indian aviation market, the domestic aviation industry is seeing increased interest from private entities. 

Now, the Alok Sharma-promoted Air One has applied to the ministry of civil aviation for permission to start a scheduled airline.

Currently, Air One runs charter services to domestic and international destinations. Confirming the development, a senior ministry official said, “They have applied for the permission to start a scheduled airline. They want a pan-India licence.” He declined to share details.

Calls and text messages to Alok Sharma, promoter and director of Air One and former president of Air Sahara, did not elicit a response.

Industry sources said Sharma was considering floating a new airline for to cash in on the latent traffic potential in the domestic market. 

According to Air One’s website, the airline has a fleet of seven aircraft, which it plans to expand to 10 by the end of this year. It has a Lineage 1000, two Legacy 650s, one Citation XLS, one Dauphin and two Ecureuil. Air One operates regular charter services between Mumbai and Aamby Valley from October to May.

India is one of the most under-penetrated aviation markets in the world. According to data shared by AirAsia Group, the country has a fleet of about 422 aircraft, for a population of 1.2 billion. In comparison, China has a fleet of 1,981, for 1.3 billion citizens.

Data by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation for 2012 indicate per capita domestic airline seats is very low in India - just 0.07, compared with 3.35 for Australia, 2.49 for the US, 1.38 for Canada and 1.05 for Japan. 

With the number of domestic air passengers in the country projected to triple to about 175 million annually by 2021 from 58 million in 2012, start-up airlines from AirAsia India to Tata-SIA have announced new ventures to tap in on the growth in the market.

Tata Sons tied the knot with SIA to launch a full service carrier in India at an initial investment of $ 100 million on September 19.

SOME AIR ONE DETAILS 

* Air One currently operates charter services to domestic as well as international destinations 

* Alok Sharma, the promoter and director of Air One, is former president of Air Sahara 

* The airline currently has a fleet of seven aircraft which it plans to expand to 10 by the end of 2013

Sharmistha Mukherjee in New Delhi
Source: