(From left) Vishok Mansingh, CEO, Sudheer Raghavan, Chief Commercial Officer, Prem Pandey, Director, Pradeep, Group Director, MEIL, and KG Viswanath, CFO, at media conference
Hyderabad: City-based Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited which operates low cost airlines under Trujet brand on Thursday announced mega expansion plans involving addition of 20 more destinations and acquiring up to seven new aircraft by March 2019.
At present, the airlines operates to 14 destinations through five ATR-72 aircraft and most of these routes fall under Udan (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme launched by the central government to encourage air connectivity to tier-II and III cities.
"As part of our expansion, we are looking to add 20 more destinations this financial year, taking the network to 34 destinations. That requires additional aircraft. So, we will acquire five to seven more ATRs over the next few months,” Vishok Mansingh, CEO, Turbo Megha Airways, told the media here on Thursday.
Through this expansion, the airlines will provide air connectivity to Tier-II and Tier-III cities in Western Maharashtra, Gujarat, some parts of Rajasthan and Northeast. It will connect Kandla, Porbandar, Keshod, Jaisalmer and Nasik from Ahmedabad and Burnpur, Cooch Behar, Tezu and Rupsi from Guwahati.
Set up in 2015, TruJet which launched its first flight on Hyderabad-Tirupati route is currently operating at close to 85 per cent occupancy levels. Ram Charan Teja, film actor and son of mega star Chiranjeevi, is a minority shareholder in the airlines which has carried 1.2 million passengers since inception.
Replying to a query, Mansingh said there is an acute shortage of pilots and the airline industry including TruJet is getting affected by the development.
Asked about the company’s financials, K G Vishwanath, CFO of the airlines, said presently they are nearly achieving the operational breakeven. Vishwanath said typically for domestic routes it would take six to nine months for any route to get the operational breakeven. "For the last three years, some of the earlier routes which we have started breaking even at operational level.
For an overall perspective, we are a more stabilised carrier and we are close to operational breakeven at this point of time," Vishwanath said. The CFO said the airline is registering over 25 per cent margins at Earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBTDA) level.
To mark its third anniversary, TruJet is offering fares starting at Rs 603 all-inclusive to make air travel affordable to common man.