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Surat diamantaires sure of intra-state air connectivity's success

April 29, 2016

After Modi's pinstripe suit, Surat diamond barons are in the limelight again.

This time, a consortium of diamond barons - one among who had bought Modi's suit for Rs 4.30 crore - owning Ventura AirConnect, is confident of successfully running the intra-state air services in Gujarat after winning the tender contract from the state government starting in May.

The Madhya Pradesh-based Ventura was taken over by Surat's diamond barons and a realtor for Rs 20 crore in 2014. The company is owned by Surat's Shree Ramkrishna Export (SRK), Shri Hari Krishna Export, Dharmanandan Diamonds - Modi suit buyer - and a realtor, Lavji Badshah.

The company had launched Surat-Bhavnagar and Surat-Rajkot flight services with their Cessna nine-seater aircrafts in December-2014.

However, when the diamond barons took over Ventura AirConnect, they had to face technical and legal hitches in operating the services. Due to a change in ownership and the need for its operating licence to be renewed, the airline suspended operations in late 2015.

Nonetheless, the cordial relations of the diamond barons with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat government helped them to sail through the difficult times. The Union civil aviation ministry and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have restored the permission to fly in the skies by renewing the operating licences and accepting the change in ownership.

In February last, the company had signed an MoU for intra-state air connectivity at the Vibrant Gujarat International Travel Mart (VGITM) in Gandhinagar. "We had always dreamt about providing air services to the people of Gujarat in the state and across the country. The intra-state air connectivity is the first step in realizing our dreams. We hope to fulfill the dreams by providing better services starting from May," says director of Ventura AirConnect, Ishwar Dholakiya.

Ventura is confident of running the intra-state services, despite the fact that Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Ltd (MehAir), which launched first-ever intra-state service with Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Limited (GUJSAIL) in the state from Ahmedabad in January-2015 had failed miserably. It had to stop the services after it failed to attract passengers.

"Ventura has already clocked 287 flying hours per month in the Surat-Rajkot and Surat-Bhavnagar flight. We are confident of crossing over 400 flying hours per month," said CEO of Ventura, Kartikey Garasiya.

Source : Times of India

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