Air Deccan seeks okay to fly abroad

Budget carrier Deccan has applied for permission to fly overseas from next year. "The company wants a license to start flights to the Middle East, South East Asia and the US," Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya has said.

Mallya, who launched Kingfisher Airlines in 2005, has been campaigning for relaxation of the five-year rule for private carriers to fly abroad. But, notwithstanding that, he can now start overseas flights through Deccan, which completes five years of operations next year.

Existing aviation rules require private carriers to have at least five years of domestic operations and a fleet of at least 20 aircraft to get permission to serve overseas destinations.

Mallya''s UB group acquired a 26 per cent stake in Deccan Aviation for Rs 550 crore in May 2007, and purchased another 20 per cent through an open offer that ended earlier this month.

Kingfisher Airlines has hired management consulting firm Accenture to study the possibility of integrating the operations of the two airlines. The company''s report is expected within the next six weeks, Mallya said.

UB Group holding company UB Holdings is now planning to raise Rs1,000 crore through a qualified institutional placement (QIP) next month. The liquor baron will himself pick up Rs720 crore of the QIP to maintain his shareholding in the UB Group.