A new Indian domestic airline, NorthStar Aviation, hopes to be flying by March next year.

The venture is being promoted by Captain Rajiv Jha, a former Indian Airlines pilot, and a group of 12 (unnamed) US-based Indians, who are planning to invest between $100-125 million in the airline.

NorthStar has applied to the Indian Government for approval to operate. It plans to take up to six 150-seaters initially and is talking to Airbus Industrie and Boeing about a lease/purchase deal for A320s or 737s, which should be finalised by the end of November, Jha says.

NorthStar hopes to add a further 15 aircraft by the end of 2002 and will offer twice daily services between Delhi and the major Indian destinations including Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai during the first phase.

Jha says the airline is targeting a 10 per cent market share during the first year of operation, which will come from from the growing domestic market.

Source: Flight International