Hyderabad: Trujet, scheduled commuter airline, operated by Hyderabad-based Turbo Megha Airways, which has completed three years of its operations, carrying 1.2 million passengers so far, is all set to expand its fleet from five to 12 by March 2019. The entire fleet is going to be comprising of ATR-72 aircraft, to maintain fleet consistency.
The company which is operationally profitable currently operates 32 sectors per day and by August this year the number will go up to 48 sectors per day. UDAN gives the airlines monopoly in the routes allotted for three years. Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities will be showing over 20-25 per cent growth much above the industry growth at 15-16 per cent.
Turbo Megha Airways CEO Vishok Mansingh told Telangana Today, “We see a significant opportunity in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. These cities need good connectivity. Government has become a facilitator for this growth. We are connecting Bharat to India. We will focus on both UDAN and non-UDAN opportunities. We want to sustain our operations (even without UDAN). Government is also drawing a north-east policy, and we are keen to serves these markets.”
Trujet will focus on cost management, bring IT to improve its efficiency, improve operations through better manpower management to achieve reasonable profits. The company plans to increase the staff strength from 400 to 500 by next year.
Vishwanath Gopalakrishnan Kalpathy, CFO, Turbo Megha Airways, said, “We are keen to expand our presence across the country. We will be expanding our fleet both by organic and inorganic way. We will be serving 34 destinations in next six months of which 75-80 per cent are under UDAN network. We are not looking at connecting two metros. We are looking at different connectivity. We may connect two cities through smaller towns.”
He added, “The passenger load factor has been healthy at Trujet. Usually airlines in India see 55-60 per cent load factor up to 9 months of introducing new service. We are looking at lease model to have adequate fleet to meet our expansion. There is enough potential in India with many un-served markets. Before looking at overseas opportunities down the line (which requires 5 years of service and 20 aircraft fleet), we would look at tapping available domestic opportunities. We are already growing at 100 per cent year-on-year.”
The airline is currently in talks with GMR for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for long-term support in Hyderabad.
Trujet connects 14 destinations in South India, backed by UDAN, serving places such as Cuddapah, Nanded, Bellary, Mysore and Salem in the regional connectivity scheme. Trujet has been awarded 20 new routes in western and eastern States and will connect Kandla, Porbandar, Keshod, Jaisalmer, Jalgaon, Nasik with Ahmedabad and Burnpur, Cooch Behar, Tezu and Rupsi with Guwahati.
Sudheer Raghavan, chief commercial officer, Turbo Megha Airways, said, “The air trips per capita in India in 2016 was 0.9 and China was 0.3. Only six per cent of Indians had been flying. India’s growth is seen at over 20 per cent. We could expect 24 per cent growth in passenger numbers in the country. Metros had seen progress and the rest of India is waiting to grow. We see ourselves as an economy-enabler. We are optimistic that regional connectivity will work.”
The company has three directors – Prem Kumar Pandey, Ram Charan (actor) and Vankayalapati Umesh.