Deccan 360 takes off
India’s first cargo airline to launch international freight operations was flagged off on Wednesday from IGI Airport Cargo Terminal. This is yet another brainchild of Capt G R Gopinath, the man who revolutionalized low cost travel in India. Called Deccan 360, the first plane, an A-310, took off from Delhi for Hong Kong, the world’s second largest cargo hub. It was flagged off by Dr Naseem Zaidi, director general of civil aviation. Two more A-310s, each capable of carrying 35 tonnes of cargo, will be inducted soon and by September, six ATR42 planes will be added to the fleet. Gopinath said the airline was born out of the frustrations he encountered while he was in Air Deccan, India’s first budget airline. ‘‘The logistics supply chain would often make us lose valuable time and money. Many companies go to six-seven such companies to transport vital airline spares such as tyres and engines across the country.’’ At present, India has seven cargo planes with a combined capacity of just 120 tonnes, as compared to China’s 100 dedicated cargo planes, he says.