I write on India's well-established entrepreneurs and corporate houses, covering a range of sectors. In a nutshell, I'm the Jack of all business news beats. In addition, I am the go-to reporter for aviation news at Forbes India.
MD, Air Pegasus
Career: Chartered accountant; worked as an officer at Federal Bank; founder of Decor Aviation, an airport ground handling company
Education: MCom, University of Kerala
Interests: Travelling, cooking
Q. What made you launch Air Pegasus?
My airport ground handling services company Decor Aviation, which started as a side business in 1998, has grown from 60 employees to 800 at present. The company has operations across 13 airports in south India. The team handles all kinds of services at an airport such as ticketing, baggage handling, checking in passengers and ferrying them to the aircraft. In addition, we have ground support equipment like tractors, trolleys and step-ladders that service an aircraft between flights. Since I had all the required staff (except for the flight crew) and airport infrastructure, I thought why not start an airline of my own.
Q. Why did you choose to be a regional airline?
All the Indian airlines have neglected regional air connectivity. Everybody is committing to routes like Bengaluru to Delhi, Mumbai to Kolkata, neglecting the demand that exists in non-metro cities. For example, at least 200 people are looking to fly between Coimbatore and Tuticorin. I see great potential and profit in connecting Coimbatore to Tirupati and Bengaluru to Puducherry. I want to start operations between Bengaluru and Rajahmundry, a route on which no airline operates. Besides, after the exit of Air Deccan, there exists a vacuum in air connectivity to smaller cities.
Q. Do you think you can be profitable by charging Rs 2,500 per ticket?
We can break even if the average ticket cost is Rs 2,500. Of course, we will be better off with an average yield of Rs 3,000 per ticket. Besides, given the aircraft we operate (an ATR 72, which can seat between 68 and 70 passengers), we can achieve an occupancy rate of 85 percent.