PICTURES: Indian cargo carrier Deccan to launch 19 May

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Deccan Express Logistics, a new Indian cargo airline and logistic's firm, plans to launch commercial operations on 19 May using one of its three Airbus A310 freighters.

The carrier is in the final stages of receiving its air operator's certificate and will launch on 19 May with a twice-weekly service on the Hong Kong-Delhi-Chennai-Hong Kong route, says Deccan's founder GR Gopinath.

The carrier's first A310F is in India and Deccan has another two coming, says Gopinath.

He says in the weeks following the launch the airline will be adding Dubai to its network followed by Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

Air India will be providing the new airline with line maintenance services and Lufthansa Technik in Frankfurt will be providing spares and overhaul services, he adds.

When Gopinath first started promoting the business, it was known as Deccan Cargo. But the company name is now Deccan Express Logistics to highlight that it is more than a cargo airline but rather an integrated logistics company.

Gopinath has been securing warehouse space across India and its main base will be in Nagpur in central India.

"By August we will be starting the express logistics business" that will connect 25 Indian cities using trucks, says Gopinath.

He also says the company's main brand name will be Deccan 360.

Besides having trucks and A310Fs, the group is in negotiations to acquire some ex-Air Deccan ATR 42s and expects to have the first two ATRs join the fleet in August or September, says Gopinath.

Gopinath is Deccan Express Logistics' main shareholder but he says following the launch he will sell equity to raise capital.

He declines to say who the investors will be but says he has been speaking to strategic and financial investors.

Gopinath is well known in India because he is the founder of the country's first low-cost carrier Air Deccan which he later sold to the owners of India's Kingfisher Airlines. His passenger airline has since been re-branded Kingfisher Red.