Case Study

Air Deccan (A): “Simpliflying” air travel in India

24 pages
August 2008
Reference: IMD-3-1976

Captain Gorur Ramaswamy Gopinath started his journey with a dream – a dream inspired by one simple statement: “I want every Indian to fly at least once in their lifetime.” With a population in excess of 1 billion people, India certainly offered a vast reservoir of future air travelers. In 2002, when Capt. Gopinath first broached the idea of starting a low-cost airline to serve India’s travel needs, no one took him seriously. Bankers refused to fund him, aircraft manufacturers ignored him and aviation industry observers swore that India was not ready. However, he was convinced that India’s burgeoning middle class, already buying color TVs and cell phones, could be converted to air travel. In 2003 he launched the first low-cost airline company in India with a leased 48-seater ATR aircraft and $10 million from investors. By 2007, Capt. Gopinath was close to realizing his dream. Air Deccan, with a market share of 21.6%, was India’s fastest-growing low-cost carrier and the second-largest airline in the country. It ran the most extensive network in India, covering 61 airports, flew some 306 scheduled flights a day and operated a brand new fleet of 14 Airbus A320 and 22 ATR Turboprops. Visionary and always optimistic, Capt. Gopinath had brought about a total revolution to the highly regulated Indian skies. But every revolution carries the seeds of its own demise. Competition was increasing rapidly now that the model had been validated, and the Indian airport infrastructure was on the verge of a massive breakdown. New business models had to be devised to remain ahead of the curve. The new logo for the company enigmatically offered a glimpse of what Capt. Gopinath had in mind: S I M P L I F L Y …

Learning Objective

Learn about new business models, innovations, growth management, low cost carrier strategies, Indian issues.

Growth Management, Airline
Published Sources
© 2008
Available Languages
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