Mumbai: Aiming at expanding its operations, budget carrier GoAir has advanced the delivery of ten aircraft by four months and plans to fly to non-profitable routes in the Northeast, Andamans and Jammu and Kashmir.
The Wadia Group-owned company had placed orders for 20 Airbus A-320 planes worth $1.2 billion in 2006 with their deliveries staggered over two tranches.
While induction of the first tranche of 10 aircraft would be completed in September this year, the second tranche, slated to commence from January 2012, has been advanced by four months, sources familiar with the development said.
“We have now advanced these deliveries by four months rpt four months and will be receiving the first aircraft of the second tranche as early as in September 2011,” the sources said. GoAir’s current fleet strength is eight.
Acquisition of these aircraft would be done through internal accruals as well as by raising funds through sale and lease back. “We are planning to sale and lease back four aircraft which are due for delivery in 2011-12,” they said.
This year, the airline would induct two planes, one later this month and the other in September, the sources said adding “this would complete the first phase of our fleet expansion plans.”
On the network expansion front, the sources said “we are evaluating a few sectors pan India. At present, Pune, Leh, Jammu, Imphal, Port Blair, Kolkata and Chennai are on our radar”. Northeast, Andamans and J and K are designated as special category routes which are considered socially- important but financially unviable.
While the Pune flight was likely to start in the next few months, the Leh service was expected to commence during the winter schedule which starts from October, they said.
Maintaining that the company had witnessed “phenomenal growth” in its revenue and passenger traffic in the last one year, the sources said “we have clocked 154% growth in passenger number in 2009-10 compared to 2008-09.”
The airline posted a 133% growth in revenue at Rs860 crore in the last fiscal as against Rs360 crore in 2008-09. The first quarter of the current fiscal has been “quite encouraging” with passenger traffic up by 70% against the corresponding period of the last fiscal, the sources said.
“At the same time, revenue growth has been around 70-72% higher in the first quarter of this fiscal as against the first quarter of 2009-10,” they said.
The airline also plans to hire pilots and cabin crew over the next 2-3 months, the sources said, adding, “we have recently inducted 21 first officers and now plan to hire another 10 pilots.” GoAir now has a pool of 113 pilots, which includes 48 commanders and 65 first officers.
“In addition, we are also hiring around 74 cabin crew in the next 2-3 months” which would take the total number of inflight crew to 202, the sources added.