Bengaluru: Low-cost carrier Air Pegasus will begin flying from here to Tamil Nadu’s Madurai from June 26, spreading its footprint to the fourth city across south India in its venture to provide direct air connectivity to tier-two cities.
“We will operate a 66-seat twin engine turboprop ATR-72 thrice a week initially on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Bengaluru with a return flight on same day,” Air Pegasus managing director Shyson Thomas said in a statement here on Sunday.
The third largest city in Tamil Nadu, Madurai, about 490km from Chennai, is also called as Athens of the East for its cultural heritage.
“We will be the sole operator to Madurai from Bengaluru with a direct flight, which will add value to the economy of the temple city,” Thomas said.
The budget airline began booking for the new service from Sunday with tickets priced at Rs.1,234 for the 80-minute flight.
Taking off at 10.40 a.m. from Bengaluru, the aircraft will land at Madurai at noon. It will take off from there at 12.30 p.m. to return here at 1.50 p.m.
The city-based airline launched its third service to Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh on June 7 from Bengaluru after launching its maiden service to Hubbali in north Karnataka on May 12 and to Thiruvananthapuram on May 13.
Its parent company, Decor Aviation, has been providing ground handling services to Indian and overseas airlines from 11 airports across the country over the years.
Thomas said Air Pegasus aims to be a regional airline brand providing more connectivity in underserved regions and connecting non-connected sectors.
The company, which invested Rs.100 crore to launch the airline, with 3:1 equity-debt ratio, plans to add three more ATR aircraft to the two it has on dry lease by December.
The ninth carrier in the country and third to launch service after Air Asia and Vistara during the last 14 months, Air Pegasus named after the winged stallion from Greek mythology, has permit to launch service to and from any of the 22 airports across south India, connecting tier-two and tier-three cities with cities and metros like Chennai and Hyderabad.
Though the southern region has 30 functional airports, all of them are not connected yet, as full-fledged, budget carrier and other low-cost airlines have been operating between metros and tier-one cities only.