As Air Deccan and Air Odisha grapple with turbulent times, their new owner and Sharjah-based NRI Zahid Hussein plans to invest $10 million initially as well as restructure the two airlines.
Currently, the two scheduled commuter airlines—which began services on 30 routes under the regional connectivity scheme—have suspended operations temporarily due to technical reasons, according to an official.
Hussein, who is a Director of Sharjah-based Ghalia Petrol LLC, said immediate fund infusion is required for the two airlines.
“We are a majority stakeholder in GSec Monarch Private Ltd, which owns Air Deccan and Air Odisha... The investment is through family-owned enterprises. An Indian company (is) investing into it,” he told PTI in an interview.
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Both the airlines are scheduled commuter airlines under the government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). In the first round of RCS bidding, Air Deccan and Air Odisha bagged 34 and 50 routes, respectively.
“In the first phase, we are looking at an investment of around $10 million to clean up the slate and restart operations... We need fund infusion on an immediate basis,” Hussein said.
At current exchange rates, $10 million would be around Rs 74 crore.
This investment would be made over a period of around 90 days, probably by mid-January or February.
“In the short term, we are looking at restarting operations as soon as possible. We ourselves want the airlines to fly with a clear vision. We want to give a better experience,” he said.
Noting that both the airlines have their own set of liabilities, he said there would be restructuring and then reach a stable level before expanding their current aircraft fleet of 19-seater Beechcraft 1900 Ds.
Air Odisha has one aircraft and Air Deccan has three aircraft. All are on lease.
About future expansion plans for the airlines, Hussein said inducting ATR aircraft could be looked at in the second quarter of 2019.
“We are looking at expansion in the second quarter (April-June 2019).