India's no-frills airline market is set for further growth. Air Deccan, a 2003 start-up, is outlining plans for countrywide and international expansion and another new operator is preparing to launch.

Air Deccan, which is operated by Bangalore-based Deccan Aviation, is seeking Indian government approval to bring in Rp180 million ($3.95 million) of foreign investment through the sale of a 20% stake. Currently, 15% of the airline is in foreign hands.

The airline, which began services in August, serves 11 cities in southern India. Managing director G R Gopinath says he has a phased expansion plan to cover the entire country and add international routes. "Depending on how the government approval comes along, we will launch flights to Bangkok, Colombo, Kuala Lumpur and certain regions in the Gulf," he says.

Air One is the name of India's latest low-cost entrant, which plans to begin operations by April. Based in Bangalore, the airline is being steered by former Indian air force official J M Lobo and will operate 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145s on services in the south and west of the country. The carrier says it will not compete with major players on trunk routes.

Source: Flight International