TruJet, which took off in July 2015, on Thursday said it is gunning for a pan-India presence with plans to add 20 new routes in the western and eastern sectors of the country in the current fiscal and wet lease 5-7 ATRs to cater to its expansion plans.
The scheduled commuter airline currently caters to 14 destinations, primarily in South India, including some under the Centre’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, through a fleet of five ATRs. “We have been awarded 20 new routes in Gujarat, some parts of Rajasthan, Western Maharastra and North-East. We will be adding all these new routes by the end of the current fiscal,” Vishok Mansingh, CEO, TruJet, told newspersons here.
The carrier plans to connect Kandla, Porbandar, Keshod, Jaisalmer, Jalgaon and Nashik from Ahmedabad and Burnpur, Cooch Behar, Tezu and Rupsi from Guwahati. According to Mansingh, the carrier, which is operated by Hyderabad-based Turbo Megha Airways Pvt Ltd, is currently doing average occupancies of 85% with higher occupancies of 85-90% on UDAN routes.
“We currently operate 32 sectors per day and plan to take this up to 44-48 sectors per day by August this year,” he said. Talking about financial performance, TruJet CFO K G Vishwanath said the airline has nearly achieved operational breakeven. “For the last three years, for some of the earlier routes we have started breaking even at the operating level. It takes about six to nine months for any new route to get operational breakeven,” he said, indicating that the airline is already registering high 20% EBITDA (earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortisation) margin levels.
On funding for the expansion, he said the company is sufficiently funded through internal sources.
TruJet, which has ferried 1.2 million passengers since it began flying three years ago, is offering fares starting at Rs 603-all inclusive as part of its plans to make air travel more affordable for the Aam Aadmi on its third anniversary, Mansingh said.