Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ex-Vayudoot MD plans franchise model airline

Want to own your own airline? Harshvardhan — former Vayudoot chief — might have a plan for you. Eager to start a second innings in the Indian skies, as an entrepreneur he is bringing the franchise model of ownership — typically followed by global QSR chains like Dominos and MacDonalds.

He is envisaging Star Air Consulting, his aviation consultancy firm, to become an umbrella organisation for number of regional airlines set up in small towns of India. The model unique to the Indian market will see Superfast Airlines as the holding company, under whose brand name the entrepreneurs can own their own airline.

"Aviation in India is a great but a tough market. Not many can crack it as it requires massive capital investment and business planning. We want to create one or two small aircraft operators. They will be the owner of that aircraft. We would help the contract for bulk orders and will be subleasing it to the individual operator," Vardhan said.

"We want to create a company where the risk profile for smaller players is very less and this form of pure franchise model is being tried for the first time in India," he added.

Vardhan's SuperFast Airlines will help the franchisee operators in functions like aircraft acquisition, technical and operational maintenance, crew training and marketing initiatives. "Post Kingfisher, it has become difficult for an Indian operator to lease aircraft, even more when you operate one or two aircrafts," Vardhan said.

It will also help in pilot training and is in talks with a third party MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) operator for providing technical services to the airlines. "Basically we would be providing all fundamental support including training and technical support. The idea is to create a a national organisation, so that the profile becomes better and the market acceptance of those individual operators becomes better among other stakeholders," Vardhan says.
28/09/16 Arindam Majumder/Business Standard
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