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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Indian budget air market hots up
Spicejet CEO Mark Winders (left) and Indian tourism minister, Renuka Choudhary
Spicejet CEO Mark Winders and Tourism Minister Renuka Choudhary
A new Indian budget airline took to the skies on Tuesday, with a flight from the capital, Delhi, to Mumbai (Bombay).

Spicejet is the latest low-cost carrier to launch in India, which has seen a spate of new airlines. Annual aviation sector growth is forecast at 20%.

Spicejet is offering some seats for as low as 99 rupees ($2.30) for the first three months of operations, and hopes to woo train passengers.

Its two leased Boeing 737-800s have just a single economy class.

The hope is we will be profitable in six months
Mark Winders
CEO, Spicejet

"We're going to compete in the air-conditioned train travel market wherever we fly in India," chief executive officer Mark Winders told AFP news agency.

"The hope is we will be profitable in six months," says Mr Winders, a former Air Canada manager who helped launch Canadian low cost airline, Canjet.

Online frenzy

Last week, the airline opened bookings via the internet and received a massive response.

More than 37,000 tickets were sold online on the first day itself, with the airline's website recording more than 5.4m hits in 30 hours.

Earlier this month, Indian beer baron Vijay Mallya launched Kingfisher Airlines, pledging to take on market leaders Jet Airways and Indian Airlines.

Models work as flight attendants on the airline while its planes have seat-back entertainment systems.

Aviation minister Praful Patel predicts that passenger numbers will rise to 50 million in five years.


SEE ALSO:
Air India launches Amritsar link
15 May 05 |  South Asia
First Indian budget flight abroad
29 Apr 05 |  South Asia
Aviation firms eye booming India
09 Feb 05 |  Business
India's Deccan seals $1.8bn deal
21 Dec 04 |  Business


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