REGIONAL AVIATION | Arline
Air Costa’s unique selling proposition is it offers comfortable seating in economy class, unlike any other airline
In October 2014, Vijayawada-based regional airline Air Costa celebrated the first anniversary of the launch of its operations and it flew the invited journalists from across India on its Embraer E-Jets 170 and 190. It was an opportunity for journalists to experience flying on their aircraft. Air Costa made use of this occasion to showcase to the media that this carrier is different from other players.
And how is Air Costa different? The unique selling proposition (USP) of the airline is that it offers comfortable seating in economy class unlike any other airline.
The Air Costa Embraer E-170 in which I had the privilege to travel, has 67 seats, 60 in Economy and seven in Economy Plus. The seat pitch is 36” in Economy Plus and 31” in Economy with ample leg room. The overhead storage bin capacity is 36.3 kg (80 lb). The best part of the interiors of the airliner was that it had plush leather seats, both elegant and comfortable.
The contemporary Embraer E-170 and E-190 are highly efficient with spacious seats and best in-class leg room. The best part is that there is no ‘middle seat’ and one can enjoy the luxury of a wider aisle with larger windows, giving a good view of the world around the aircraft while cruising at 30,000 feet.
Air Costa’s Embraer E-190s are all-economy, four abreast single-aisle cabin with 112 seats extended over 28 rows with a 29/30-inch seat pitch. Each of the seats is as wide as 18.25 inches, armrest to armrest, which is reportedly a good 1.25 inches wider and more comfortable that the seats on any of the other low-cost carrier such as SpiceJet that operate the Boeing 737, IndiGo, GoAir and AirAsia India that fly the Airbus A320.
The seat comfort is going to be a clincher as passengers start experiencing Air Costa on the nine destinations it is presently flying to. It is a sure bet on the regional network and possibly on short-haul international flights in due course. They are the ‘right aircraft’ not just for the airline operator, but also for the passenger who will enjoy higher levels of comfort with just a little addition of space.
Air Costa is redefining air travel in the domestic skies by its cabin room and seating comfort. Air Costa states that it is committed to its customers offering what they state each letter of Costa stands for : C – Convenient schedule; O – On-time performance; S – Service par excellence; T – True value for money; and A – Absolute seating comfort.
In October 2014, Air Costa announced that it would soon alter its status from a regional airline to a national operator, but continue to use Embraer E-Jets. The airline is working out modalities for pan-India connectivity and it plans to have hubs in different regions for easy operation. The airline also has started carrying cargo to and from these destinations – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Tirupati, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, thus adding to its revenue stream. The airline announced operational profits in December 2014.
The good news is that on the success of Air Costa, we have another start-up airline, FlyEasy from Bengaluru, which reportedly is going for Embraer E-Jets. On regional routes, we are soon going to have more Embraers flying. Remember, Air Costa has placed a huge order for 50 E-Jets E2 and another 50 optional with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2018.
The civil aviation market in India is opening up and Air Costa is targeting Tier-II and Tier-III cities. To service this market, the airline has ordered 25 E-190 E2 and 25 E-195 E2 jets, with a capacity of between 98 and 118 seats. In 2015, Air Costa plans to add four E-190 aircraft to connect Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Varanasi, Chandigarh, Indore and Pune, besides exploring the possibility of connecting Delhi.
Happy flying !