Star Air Plans To Set Up MRO Facility For Embraer Aircraft
Star Air plans to set up an maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for servicing Embraer aircraft, to cater to demand in domestic and South-east Asia market, a senior airline executive said.
Sanjay Ghodawat's aviation entity Star Air, which made its debut as a regional carrier from January this year also announced the launch of its services to the financial capital from its second hub Belgavi in Karnataka under the central government's regional connectivity scheme, Udan.
Besides Mumbai, the Bengaluru-headquartered carrier also flies to four airports, Hubballi, Belagavi, Ahmedabad and Tirupati with a fleet of two Embraer 50-seater regional jet ERJ 145.
"Besides developing a hangar in Belgavi, we are also are planning to set up a facility for maintenance, repair and overhaul for the Embraer fleet," Star Air chief executive officer Simran Singh Tiwana told reporters at the launch of Mumbai-Belagvi services.
He said that the apart from maintaining Star Air's fleet, the proposed MRO will also cater to the domestic and overseas demand, mainly of the South-east Asian market.
Tiwana said that the airline currently has two Embraer ERJs in the fleet and it is expected to induct three more by December this year, which will take the fleet size to 5.
"If you have an MRO, you can justify the cost of the planes. Besides, there are 11 Embraer planes in the country. So with this backing, the South-East Asian market can also lookup to you," he said.
Star Air has made an initial investment of Rs 200 crore in the venture, which also includes the purchase of two planes, he said adding, the three more planes which are being inducted will be an outright purchase.
"We are an asset-heavy company. We would like to go for outright purchases than leasing as it gives us a lot of stability," he said.
The regional carrier has got the mandate to fly on 22 Udan routes, of which four are now operational, he said adding the services on the Hubli-Hindon route will be launched from next month.
"We expect all Udan routes awarded to be operational by early next fiscal," he added.
He said that the carrier has recently taken onboard online travel services provide MakeMyTrip as against a direct sale of tickets earlier and the move has pushed up its bookings by 10 percent.
"We are also talking to Cleartrip, Yatra.com and others for the online sale of our flights," he added.
According to Tiwana, Star Air will focus on tier-2 and tier-3 markets, which gives its 50-60 percent capacity.