Sanjay Ghodawat group promoted Star air will start operations from 25th January 2019. The airline will utilize its sole aircraft – an Embraer E-145 registered VT-GSC for the operations. The airline will start services to Hubballi, Tirupati and Belgavi, from its base in Bengaluru. The flights to Belgavi are effective 5th February 2019.
The airline did its proving flights between Bengaluru and Coimbatore as well as Bengaluru and Tirupati and got its Scheduled Commuter Airline permit in the first week of January. The airline’s IATA code is OG. The National Civil Aviation Policy 2016, allows for a scheduled commuter airline having a code share with other airlines for domestic and international routes.
The airline will be betting big on the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) where it has won some routes. These include Tirupati – Hubli, Hubli – Hindon (Delhi), Hubli – Pune. While Hindon is an active Air Force Station and is not yet ready for civil operations, the airport at Pune – under the Indian Air Force is short of slots. While these two are sorted, the airline will start operations to Tirupati.
The airline will operate six flights a day to begin with. The aircraft pattern would be Bengaluru – Hubballi – Tirupati – Hubballi – Bengaluru – Belgavi – Bengaluru, in what could potentially be done by one crew set. The airline intends to add another aircraft within the next few months and launch flights to more stations. On flights to Hubbali, the airline will see competition from both IndiGo and Spicejet. While the former operates the A320, the later operates the Q400 turboprop. On flights to Belgavi – Star Air will see competition from Air India which operates the Airbus A319.
The airline will offer a Buy on Board service with prices starting INR 20. Ghodawat group products are part of the in-flight meal sales.
This will be the third time that an operator will start services in India with Embraer aircraft. The first two were not successful for multiple reasons and this time around the smaller aircraft could well do the trick, if used effectively. A regional jet allows an airline to opt for long thin routes and if there is competition, opt for frequency over capacity.
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