The Ahmedabad-based GSEC Aviation and Monarch Networth Capital have bought over the GR Gopinath-promoted Air Deccan, besides jointly acquiring majority stake in Air Odisha, which is set to launch its services on regional routes from tomorrow.
Significantly, GSEC Aviation is owned by Rakesh Ramanlal Shah, who is married to Prity, the sister of the USD 11-billion Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani.
Under the new structure, both the airlines will be owned by a new company called GSEC Monarch Aviation in which Gopinath’s Air Deccan will hold 50 per cent stake while the rest will be held by GSEC Aviation and Monarch Networth.
Confirming the “strategic investment” in the two carriers, GSEC Aviation whole-time Director and Rakesh Shah’s son Shaishav Shah said both Air Deccan as well as Air Odisha will now be run under a new holding company called GSEC Monarch Aviation.
Shah, however, did not disclose the investment being made into the two companies.
Under the new structure, the Radhakanta Pani family, which is the original promoter of the Bhubaneswar-based Air Odisha, will divest 60 per cent of their stake to GSEC Aviation and Monarch Networth, he said.
“We are making a joint venture company called GESEC Monarch Aviation, which will be 50 per cent owned by GSEC Aviation and Monarch Networth Capital and the rest will be with Air Deccan,” Shah told PTI.
The JV will hold 100 per cent of Air Deccan and 60 per cent of Air Odisha, he said, adding both GSEC Aviation and Monarch have acquired equal stake in the two carriers.
While Gopinath will be the chairman of the new entity, Shaishav Shah will be the managing director and Himanshu Shah of Monarch will be deputy managing director, he said.
For Gopinath, this is the third aviation venture having sold his maiden airline–Air Deccan–to Kingfisher in 2007 and then burned his fingers with a cargo venture with around Rs 100 crore investment from Mukesh Ambani, and the thrid one being sold to the Adani kin now.
Air Odisha, which started its services as a non-scheduled operator in November 2012, was granted the flying permit by the DGCA to launch flights under government regional connectivity scheme last Tuesday. It has bagged 50 routes under the RCS scheme.
It is set to commence operations as a scheduled commuter airline from tomorrow making its maiden flight to Mundra from Ahmedabad. The services will be launched by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani.
Interestingly, Mundra is home to the country’s largest private sector port as well as a special economic zone, owned by the Adanis.
Air Deccan, which had ceased to exist after being acquired by the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines in 2007, was also revived last year with the Bengaluru-based carrier bagging 34 routes to fly under Udan scheme in the first round of bidding in March 2017.
It started operations last December 23 with first flight to Jalgaon in Maharashtra from Mumbai.
Last December Gopinath had told PTI that his airline had forged a partnership with Air Odisha, under which the two carriers would share each other’s network and resources to manage cost.
The areas of cooperation cover aircraft procurement, leasing of aircraft, maintenance, IT systems, pilot and engineer training and flight operations, inventory, among others, he had said.
The two carriers together plans to operate 108 daily flights from across 67 airports over the next three-four months, with fleet of 12 Beechcraft 1900D planes, which offer a seating capacity for 18 passengers each.