Franchise Regional Airlines

Shubhpuja Airlines, a national airline is launching soon and will have multiple city airlines operators (Franchise operators) as part of its network. It will operate a fleet of smaller aircrafts (20-50 seater) depending on the market potential and airport infrastructure.

Cities Included
• Delhi • Mumbai • Chennai • Bangalore
• Jaipur • Jodhpur • Udaipur • Jammu
• Kullu • Dehradun • Chandigarh
• Varanasi • Lucknow • Kolkata • Silchar
• Shillong • Agartala • Ranchi • Patna
• Bhubaneshwar • Ahmedabad • Panjim • Pune
• Nagpur • Indore • Raipur • Hyderabad
• Vizag • Coimbatore • Mangalore

  • Shubhpuja Airlines (national carrier) will provide
    • Aircraft on lease and aircrafts on standby
    • Government approvals
    • MRO services and trained technical manpower
    • Marketing and reservationsset-up
  • Franchise owners will
    • Operate as part of franchise of Shubhpuja Airlines
    • Register their own airlines
    • Be individual operators in their city/region
    • Use these aircrafts for Charters in their region (medical evacuation, VIP travel)
    • Have easy exit options

Project investment:

Aircraft – Rs. 5 crores for one 20 seater aircraft Rs. 10 crores for one 50 seater aircraft

Project Timeline – 9 – 12 months

Ex-Vayudoot MD plans franchise model airline

Want to own your own airline? Harshvardhan — former Vayudoot chief — might have a plan for you. Eager to start a second innings in the Indian skies, as an entrepreneur he is bringing the franchise model of ownership — typically followed by global QSR chains like Dominos and MacDonalds.

He is envisaging Star Air Consulting, his aviation consultancy firm, to become an umbrella organisation for number of regional airlines set up in small towns of India. The model unique to the Indian market will see Superfast Airlines as the holding company, under whose brand name the entrepreneurs can own their own airline.

  • Harsh Vardhan — former MD of Vayudoot plans franchise model airline
  • Parent organisation will help in acquisition of aircraft, manpower and technical facilities
  • The airlines will run under a single brand name, owned by parent organisation
  • Vardhan is looking at the regional cities for interested entrepreneurs
  • The airlines will operate as Scheduled Commuter Airlines

“Aviation in India is a great but a tough market. Not many can crack it as it requires massive capital investment and business planning. We want to create one or two small aircraft operators. They will be the owner of that aircraft. We would help the contract for bulk orders and will be subleasing it to the individual operator,” Vardhan said.

“We want to create a company where the risk profile for smaller players is very less and this form of pure franchise model is being tried for the first time in India,” he added.

Vardhan’s SuperFast Airlines will help the franchisee operators in functions like aircraft acquisition, technical and operational maintenance, crew training and marketing initiatives. “Post Kingfisher, it has become difficult for an Indian operator to lease aircraft, even more when you operate one or two aircrafts,” Vardhan said.

It will also help in pilot training and is in talks with a third party MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) operator for providing technical services to the airlines. “Basically we would be providing all fundamental support including training and technical support. The idea is to create a a national organisation, so that the profile becomes better and the market acceptance of those individual operators becomes better among other stakeholders,” Vardhan says.

This way, the tiny airlines will get economies of scale, which could help them break-even soon, he said, adding, “If they can generate traffic between interior cities and metros, the sector at which Vardhan is looking at, fares can be at least 70 per cent cheaper than the regular rates of bigger airlines like Indian Airlines.”

Vardhan is betting high on the regional cities of India for his initiative to become successful. The Centre has announced the regional connectivity plan under which it aims to find new airlines, especially smaller operating aircrafts to provide services to the unconnected cities of India.

“Regional aviation is a great market and its size has grown manifold. The industry has also grown beyond the metros to the smaller towns and I see great opportunity to fly the smaller 20 seater turboprops between those places,” Vardhan said. For the intial phase, he is looking at entrepreneurs from Jharklhand, North East, Rajuasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Vardhan who led the regional airline Vayudoot — a joint venture between erstwhile Indian Airlines and AirIndia which was conceived to serve smaller towns — said that he has gained sufficient knowledge about the regional market from his Vayudoot days. “In the late 1980s we were able to achieve 70 per cent load factor flying between the smaller towns, I have enough knowledge about the market,” he said.

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