G R Gopinath, who founded India's first budget carrier Air Deccan, on Friday announced the launch of a door-to-door international freight and cargo service with effect from 27 May.
The freight carrier, 'Deccan 360, which will start with an A310 freighter, will add two more and will operate on its own fleet of aircraft. Later, the fleet will have three more ATR aircraft for regional operations.
''We will start with one A310 freighter. We expect two more to be inducted by next month and three ATR aircraft later,'' Gopinath said, adding, ''There is tremendous scope for freight operations in India.''
Initially, the freight carrier will operate in the Delhi-Chennai-Hong Kong-Dubai sector, targeting multiple industry verticals such as automotive spare parts, textiles, pharmaceutical, machinery and heavy equipment, banking and organised retail.
Later, the air cargo operations would be extended to all parts of the country.
He said the lack of air connectivity has hampered marketing efforts of both the farmers and smaller businesses in the country.
''Unlike in the West or even China, manufacturers and traders in our smaller cities or farmers growing cash crops are unable to compete in the international market because of limited transportation facility and connectivity,' he said.
''It is critical that we create logistics that integrates the whole country seamlessly on a transportation and delivery network,'' Gopinath added.
Gopinath who merged his Air Deccan with Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airline, currently owns around 8 per cent stake in the Kingfisher-Deccan combine.
Jude Fonseka, chief executive of Deccan Express Logistics, the company that owns Deccan 360, said the company would set up a state-of-the-art cargo hub in Nagpur. Besides, he said his company has also signed up with the GMR group for setting up express cargo operating facilities in Delhi and Hyderabad airports.