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Gopinath's cargo venture takes off

Mithun Roy MUMBAI

CAPTAIN Gopinath, pioneer of low-cost flying in India, will be launching his air cargo business, branded Deccan 360, in Nagpur on Wednesday. Mr Gopinath has already invested Rs 125 crore in the cargo venture, Deccan Express, and needs to raise an additional Rs 150 crore. The venture would hire about 5,000 people in five years.

In the first phase, the company plans to appoint 100 franchisees and each franchisee will hire 10 people. It will fly three Airbus A310 planes and seven smaller ATR planes to connect 17 Indian cities and international destinations like Dubai and Hong Kong. With not much finance coming for his cargo venture due to the slowdown, Captain Gopinath sold his stake in Kingfisher Airlines to raise funds. The latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) data shows cargo traffic is 12% above its December 2008 low, but 17% below the peak early last year.

Deccan Cargo has also signed an agreement with GMR Group for setting up express cargo operations at Delhi and Hyderabad airports, which, along with the hub in Nagpur, will form an extensive multimodal storage, transportation and delivery network.

Deccan Express Logistics will pitch against established players such as BlueDart, Gati, TNT Express and First Flight in India’s domestic cargo and logistics market. The $625-million domestic express cargo market is expected to grow at 20% annually over the next five years.

Gopinath Gopinath earlier had founded India’s first low-cost carrier, Air Deccan, which was later taken over by Kingfisher Airlines and rechristened Kingfisher Red. Nearly two years ago, Gopinath had sold the commercial aviation business Deccan Aviation to Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines.

Captain GR Gopinath poses in front of a newly-acquired Airbus A310 freighter aircraft during the launch of cargo service Deccan 360 in New Delhi in this file photo.


"Deccan 360 did a commendable job in getting across some paintings of a renowned artist for display at a prestigious art gallery in Mumbai. With the shipment being offloaded by commercial uplift due”.

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