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Bus building company MG Group unveiled its first special application coach (tarmac coach), ‘Columbus’ at Busworld India 2016, in Bengaluru on Thursday. Columbus is the first of its kind, with fully Monocoque ultra low flat floor tarmac coach developed currently for international markets with a passenger entry floor height as low as 290 mm (after kneeling), the company said. The 12 metre-long coach can accommodate 70 passengers (8 seated and 62 standees) and is equipped with the latest technology. The coach is fully complied with Airport Handling Manual regulations, it said.
The coach was unveiled by Karnataka Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries R V Deshpande along with Mohan V Kamat, Founder and Chairman of MG Group, and Anil M Kamat, Managing Director of MG Group. Anil Kamat said Columbus, currently diesel powered, could be offered with CNG as well as Electric Drive lines in the short term. In India, the air passenger traffic has been increasing at approximately 20 per cent every year, hence the demand for tarmac coaches is also increasing, he said. The total park volume is currently 800 coaches, being a highly niche segment.
The Indian market demands about 50 coaches per year, which is expected to grow as aged tarmac coach fleet are also due for replacement. Leading airlines have also placed record order sizes for aircraft, which in turn, will increase the demand for tarmac coaches. Tier 2 city airports under focus will also boost the demand of tarmac coaches, the statement said. The coach will be initially introduced for export markets and will use the Bus World 2016 platform to take feedback from Indian customers with a goal to introduce it in the domestic market in the near future, it said.
The Group also launched its Flagship Premium Luxury Coach ‘Mammoth’ for the Indian market. The coach is already being produced for international markets since its unveiling last year at Busworld 2015, Mumbai. MG Group has an annual installed capacity of 16,500 buses across two plants in Zaheerabad, Telangana and Belgavi in Karnataka. This year, the company crossed a major milestone of having produced 100,000 buses since inception in its 20th year.