The first regional airline from Andhra Pradesh, Air Costa, which began operations from Vijayawada on Monday, will fly its first service from Chennai to Jaipur on Tuesday. The flight will take off at 11.20 a.m. on Tuesday with around 60 passengers and a flight from Jaipur will arrive in Chennai at 1.20 p.m., airport sources said.
This airline, promoted by Lingamaneni Estates Private Limited (LEPL), is headquartered in Vijayawada but Chennai will serve as its maintenance centre.
Chennai is the third busiest airport in the country after Delhi and Mumbai. Air Costa’s move, along with Air Asia’s plan to make the city its operations hub, will have a positive impact, said officials.
“Our additional revenue, though not substantial in the beginning, will at least be moderate. Passenger traffic will also improve,” said an official for Airports Authority of India (AAI). At present, 27 international airlines and six domestic airlines operate out of Chennai with over 300 aircraft movements and 30,000 passengers a day.
Air Costa will initially have two Embraer aircrafts; the number may increase to 10 by the end of 2014 and to 25 by 2018. The airline plans to focus on improving connectivity in tier II and tier III cities. The airline’s initial launch date in early March was deferred.
“We had a large vacuum in passenger traffic after the exit of Kingfisher airlines. Now, with the addition of this airline, there may be a mild increase. The airline may have chosen Chennai as its maintenance centre because we are better off in terms of space when compared to Vijayawada and also other technical aspects,” said another official.
Chennai will serve as the maintenance centre for the airline