Deccan no longer to be common man's airline

Soon, India's 'aam admi' flyers may lose their favourite budget airline. No, Air Deccan isn't shutting down, but the country's first and the largest low-cost carrier is smartening up, both in terms of looks and fares, and is soon to lose its label as the common man's airline.

The UB Group, which acquired a 26 per cent stake in the Bangalore-based airline in June, and will launch an open offer for 20 per cent more equity later in September, will push through a new identity for the airline and improve its service standards.

Instead of the current blue and white with two yellow hands in its logo, the Air Deccan fleet will be painted in the bright red and white Kingfisher colours, and even have a blue kingfisher on its tail. The Kingfisher and Air Deccan fleets will look identical, except for the name.

UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya's plan is to improve the flying experience and, in turn, command a higher price. He wants to give the airline a 'premium' look and feel, so that it is transformed into the best product in the low-cost airline space.

Mallya has apparently even decided to change the name. Like Praful Patel did with Indian Airlines, he may soon shorten the name to 'Deccan'. Reports say two market research studies have shown that the 'Deccan' brand enjoyed instant recall in tier-2 towns all over the country, but that the brand urgently needed a better reputation.