Mumbai: Low-cost carrier GoAir has stopped flying to non-metro sectors such as Ahmedabad, Coimbatore and Pune in a bid to improve its financial health.
This is part of a route rationalization strategy adopted by the Mumbai-based carrier promoted by the 116-year-old Wadia Group. After rationalization, Go Airline India Pvt. Ltd has stopped flying to destinations that take less than an hour to reach from Mumbai. Goa is the only exception. It operates 10 flights a week to this popular holiday destination.
“The more an aircraft flies, the better it is. Longer flights give better yields (revenue per passenger),” said a GoAir official who did not want to be identified.
“Our new corporate strategy will help us dominate the low-fare carrier market in Mumbai by out-frequenting our competitors while also helping us establish a dominant presence in southern India in the low-fare category,” said GoAir managing director Jeh Wadia, commenting on its summer schedule announced on Thursday. A larger number of flights per day means that passengers can choose flights that are most convenient to them.
The airline, which operates a fleet of five A-320 aircraft, has deployed the capacity released from the terminated services to Ahmedabad, Coimbatore and Pune on the lucrative Mumbai-Delhi sector. Mumbai and Delhi airports account for the lion’s share of India’s air passenger traffic.
The route rationalization will help GoAir double the flight frequency on the Mumbai-Delhi sector to four-five flights each day from either city. Currently this figure is two.
“By following this strategy, we will be able to maximize load factors (the number of passengers flown on each flight) and maintain high aircraft utilization,” Wadia said in a statement. Rival Air Deccan currently operates three daily flights from either side on the Mumbai-Delhi sector and plans to add one more soon. SpiceJet, the other low-cost carrier, operates four flights daily from either side on this sector.
In the new summer schedule, GoAir will also connect Kochi to Delhi and Bangalore as well as operate flights between Chennai and Hyderabad in a bid to have a big presence in southern India.
The airline, which started operations in November 2005, said the route rationalization was carried out “in the best interests of the company and the passengers”. The airline had recently returned two aircraft it had taken on lease.
The loss-making, privately-held airline expects to start making an operating profit in 2008.