Sky is not the limit for Cosmic Air, says Pradhan

Indra Gurung

Kathmandu, June 4:

With successful operations of Fokker-100 jet aircrafts on both domestic and regional routes, Cosmic Air is now set to be a regional no-frill budget carrier. “In a short span of seven months of flying Fokker-100, we have already established ourselves as a no-frill budget airline on both the domestic and regional routes,” says Sanjaya Pradhan, executive vice-chairman of SOI Group, that owns the Cosmic Air. While talking to The Himalayan Times, he said that Cosmic Air plans to penetrate the regional market in a larger scale to meet the increased demands, while continuing its position as a budget and no-frill airline. Cosmic Air currently operates two daily flights on New Delhi route and thrice a week on Dhaka route. It plans to fly shortly on Varanasi and Kolkata, and Yongon route in the near future. With an addition of fourth Fokker-100 aircraft, Cosmic Air plans to add one more daily flight on Delhi route and two flights a week on Dhaka route. It is also waiting to get government’s nod to fly on Pokhara and Bhadrapur routes.

“Cosmic Air will continue to follow multiple pricing strategy in airfare, which is the prime factor that brought us to this height today,” reveals Pradhan, when asked about its competitiveness. He also informed that the airline holds 45 per cent of the total market share in the Nepali aviation industry. “Though one shouldn’t expect handsome profits at a time of expansion and upgrading, the multiple pricing strategy has helped us to maintain a good track of growth,” he said, adding that current occupancy rate of the airline is about 90 per cent on domestic routes and 85 per cent on international routes. Cosmic Air’s introduction of 105-seater jet aircraft last December marked a new beginning in the Nepali aviation history. And its pricing strategy not only triggered a price war among the domestic airlines but also made possible for those Nepalis who had never travelled by air got a taste of travelling in a jet aircraft.

“The vigorous marketing and expansion plan along with up-gradation of services and human resources are the part of positioning Cosmic Air as fast growing private airline,” he said.

The airlines has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EADS, Netherlands - to supply two more Fokker-100 this year and plans to add two more next year.

“Cosmic Air has already made an investment of about $200 million in infrastructure development,” he said, adding that refunding of Rs 250, if a flight is delayed for over three hours and a free ticket, if the flight is cancelled shows a commitment of the airlines towards quality service.” “The airline business is a capital intensive industry and one must have a long-term goals. There may have difficulties for a shorter term but once the competitive market is established, volume of traffic will increase, which will eventually benefit the entire industry as well as consumers,” he added. Currently the airline has a fleet of seven aircrafts including four Fokker-100s, two Dornier-228s and a SAAB 340.