Focusing on the movement of goods to and from smaller towns to major hubs will see an exponential growth once the transportation time is reduced considerably. Capt. Karthik Hegde, Chairman & CEO, AeroKing speaks about his vision and plans.
Q How soon will AeroKing Airlines start its operations?
We received our NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Ministry of Civil Aviation last month and have initiated our process on obtaining our AOP (Air Operators Permit). We are hopeful on completing this process in the next six months and should start operations by the end of October or early November.
We initially intend on leasing three ATR 72-500 aircrafts, the first one would be joining us in the month of September and the second and third aircraft will be joining us in the month of January 2022. We will then react to market demand and plan our routes and induction of further aircrafts depending on the market scenario. Our business plan is to induct eight ATRs stationed across the country to help boost our country’s regional logistics supply chain and we have capacity to induct all eight aircrafts to meet market demand in three years if needed.
Q Since the airlines is targeting Tier II & III cities, once operational, how many cities do you think you can cater to and how do you see connecting to smaller cities will help build the business?
We intend to have bases in major metro cities of our country and connect smaller cities to these metros from there. The number of stations catered to will be directly proportional to number of aircrafts stationed at a particular base. This would again depend on the market demand.
Goods movement to and from smaller towns to major hubs will see an exponential growth when goods are moved in a couple of hours which would generally take 10-15 hours by road or other means of transport. This would also give a distinct advantage to e-commerce giants, traders, manufacturers etc., to penetrate our Indian market like never before. Also, industrial, trade and agricultural goods can now reach their destinations faster if they have aircrafts flying them to their destinations at affordable rates which would tremendously reduce their losses incurred due to damage and pilferage related to longer travel time.
Q As mentioned, the flights would be based on the customer requirements. Could you please elaborate on this?
Our airline is a NSOP Carrier, which simply means we are a non-scheduled operator, where we do not have to fly a particular route everyday if there is no business. This provides us with great flexibility to cater to various customers according to their requirements.
Therefore, if a customer has an urgent requirement to transport his/her goods, we can change or alter our schedule to cater to his/her requirements.
Q AeroKing is a cargo airline, what all potential goods are you focusing on? Is your airline prepared to handle temperature and time-sensitive essential goods?
As a cargo airline we are open to transport all goods fit for transport including dangerous goods as long as they meet laid down requirements for safe transports of goods via air. Yes, our airline will definitely be able to handle temperature and time-sensitive essential goods.
Q In present COVID times, what opportunities do you see for your airline to grow?
Our plans to start a cargo airline has been in the pipeline for a little more than two years which was during the pre-COVID times. We saw great potential for a cargo carrier back then and this importance and potential came to the limelight as our nation and this world at large was hit by this devastating pandemic. We have seen and continue seeing tremendous potential for growth for our airline in our country and we hope to capitalize on this demand. During these difficult times we are fully committed to help serve our country and help connect our nation better to cater to various demands. With active support from the government and the concerned authorities we should be able to achieve this soon.