India's Deccan Cargo plans May launch with A310Fs

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India's Deccan Cargo aims to launch operations in the second week of May using Airbus A310 freighters and later in the year it will be adding ATR 42-500 freighters.

The start-up airline's founder and major owner, G R Gopinath, says it has secured three ex-Air India Airbus A310s that it is having converted into freighters at EADS EFW in Dresden, Germany.

The first will arrive in India next month, the second in the first week of May and the third in July, says Gopinath.

He also says Deccan Cargo is working on a deal that involves buying six ATRs and then doing sale and lease-backs.

These are ex-Air Deccan ATR 42-500s that Deccan Cargo plans to have converted to freighters, says Gopinath. Air Deccan is an Indian low-cost carrier he founded in 2003 but sold in 2007 to parties associated with India's Kingfisher Airlines.

Kingfisher later re-branded the low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red.

Gopinath says the ATR 42-500Fs will starting entering service in four months and be used for feeder services.

Deccan Cargo was originally planning to launch operations from its Nagpur base in central India. But Gopinath says it will instead launch A310F operations in the second week of May on the Dubai-Mumbai-Delhi-Hong Kong route.

He says the carrier is launching operations from Mumbai because the logistics centre Deccan Cargo plans to have at Nagpur airport is yet to be built.

"The A310 aircraft are coming a bit earlier than the back-end is ready with the logistics," he says.

The Nagpur centre will have IT, trucking and warehouses needed to help companies with supply chain management.

He says it is taking time to get the Nagpur centre completed because Deccan Cargo only last month secured the land it needs.

"The state government bought 4,000 acres around the airport from the" national government, he says, adding that the state government has agreed to let Deccan Cargo have some land and that "in the next month we should be able to start construction work".

Gopinath is the founder and major owner of Deccan Cargo but he says he is in negotiations with two undisclosed overseas firms and one undisclosed local company to be equity partners.

"Hopefully next month we will firm it up," he adds.