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Corporate Apr 18, 2012

Capt Gopinath wants a new airline, but where’s the money?

By Firstbiz Staff

After a gap of five years Captain Gopinath is set to enter the aviation space again with another low-cost, no-frills airline, Business Standard newspaper reported today.

Gopinath has secured a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Civil Aviation for the same.

The proposal submitted to the Ministry of Civil Aviation listed a fleet of Airbus and ATR aircraft on a leased basis.

Reuters

Gopinath, who was a pioneer of the low-cost flying experience in India, had founded Air Deccan in 2003. Kingfisher's Vijay Mallya bought 26 percent stake in Air Deccan in 2007 at Rs 550 crore and eventually took over the airline.

He has also been in the press during the Kingfisher debate, pressing the government to bail the airline out. He had made the point about not leaving employees out in the cold, and had suggested that the government employ a fully professional board.

Gopinath had entered into a five-year non-compete clause during the sale, which ends in six months, thus allowing him to re-enter the airlines business.

Though he was responsible for introducing a very successful concept in the aviation industry, Captain Gopinath has not had much success himself in the sector.

After selling Air Deccan to Mallya, Gopinath launched Deccan 360, a cargo airline, in which Reliance Industries was an equity partner. The airline didn't have a good run and was grounded in 2011. The failed cargo venture left Gopinath with a debt of Rs 500 crore which he owes to banks. Which leads one to ask - where will be find the money?

Gopinath's re-entry into the aviation space comes at a time when the industry is grappling with serious challenges and there are active talks of allowing foreign direct investment in the sector. Both the developments could have significant impact on the performance of Gopinath's latest venture.

by Firstbiz Staff

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