NEW DELHI : BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy said on Friday the first low-cost carrier Air Deccan began operations despite vehement opposition from big players such as Jet Airways during his term as the Union civil aviation minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Speaking on a Bill to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, Rudy said G R Gopinath, the founder of Air Deccan, used to be dubbed as mad for his idea of low-cost carrier in early 2000.

But he was of the opinion that the civil aviation sector needed so much reforms, Rudy said.

Rudy said the government then came up with the policy of open skies leading to the current Udaan scheme, which provides air connectivity to small and medium sized towns.

Air Deccan was started during my tenure as the civil aviation minister despite vehement opposition from big players such as Jet Airways and Air Sahara.

Later Kingfisher Airlines, which is now defunct, acquired Air Deccan, which was launched in 2003.

Air Deccan was the first Indian low-cost carrier. Headquartered in Bangalore, it mainly operated domestic flights.

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