Deccan Shuttles takes off with Ahmedabad-Surat flight

Deccan Shuttles, the latest venture of aviation entrepreneur G R Gopinath, took off on Monday with a flight from Ahmedabad to Surat, reducing the travel time between the two Gujarat cities two one hour from the four it would take by road or rail.

A wing of Deccan Charters Ltd, Deccan Shuttles aims to connect five economic centres in Gujarat, rapidly becoming India's most prosperous and fastest-growing state, by the year-end.

For the purpose, Deccan Shuttles has acquired two turbo-prop Cessna Grand Caravan 208 B aircraft that can carry up to nine passengers each, the company said on its website. The aircraft cost nearly $6 million (Rs30 crore).

If needed, Deccan Shuttles could summon aircraft from Mumbai to meet the demand, Sanjay Saihgal, vice president-business development, said in Ahmedabad, said.

''Deccan has identified the need for regular passenger air transport to connect India. For this gap to be bridged Deccan has launched a first of its kind non-scheduled daily charter air shuttle service named Deccan Shuttles, which will connect all the airports in Gujarat,'' the company statement said.

In the first phase, shuttle flights will connect Ahmedabad to Jamnagar, Kandla, Surat and Bhavnagar. There was no air connectivity between these cities so far. Deccan plans to launch similar services in other states as well.