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Air Dravida is an airline project based in Chennai, India, which intended to commence operations in October 2006 within southern India using a fleet of Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft. The airline was formally launched in November 2005 and was owned by Chennai-based Premier Tours & Travels and Zircon International, a construction company with business interests in Malaysia and Singapore, but never completed its establishing process and was shut down again in the same year. The promoters announced new plans of starting operations in July 2008 and again in 2011.
Air Dravida's parent company, Premier Tours And Travels (Chennai) Ltd was founded in 1982 in partnership as a non IATA approved Travel Agency at Chennai and had a sizeable market share from the beginning. Around the end of 1985, the current CEO joined them as their General Manager and made rapid changes including applying for IATA’s accreditation as a Passenger Sales Agent which it received in the first quarter of 1986.
The management changed hands in 1994, the company was made into a Private Limited Company in 1996 and a Limited Company in 2011. Between the year 1985 - 2005 the company was one among the top 5 agents in the Region and won several awards from airlines such as Air India, Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa, Malaysian Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airlines etc. for excellent sales support. The company also offered other travel products such as Group Inclusive Tours, Business Travel, Leisure Travel, sale of domestic and international airlines’ tickets, money changing facility, travel insurance, Passport/Visa assistance and consultancy, hotel bookings, surface arrangements and much more.
In 2004 the company witnessed drastic and unforeseen changes in the market conditions and the role of a retail travel agent. At the same time, the company also planned to start an airline division under the name of Air Dravida and began making necessary preparations. The company decided to down play its role as a retail travel agent, re-engineer its business processes and business strategies to meet current and future challenges and merge it with the launching of air services since the business process of both divisions have synergy. This was to enable the company to expand its travel network to major cities in south India. The company announced they were waiting for approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and were hopeful of taking off before Deepavali 2006. The airline planned to commence operations with a fleet of four CRJ 200 aircraft to connect the cities of Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Madurai and Trivandrum with hubs at Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Air Dravida was granted the Initial "No Objection Certificate" for operation of Non-Scheduled Air Transport Services and the “Approval in Principal” to import four aircraft on lease. The Initial Grant of NOC for Operation of Scheduled Regional Air Transport Services in South India was in the final stages of processing with the company in preparedness for launching the operations during the festive season in the 3rd/04th quarter of 2011.
The airline was ready with its lease negotiations for aircraft, fuel supply agreement with Hindustan Petroleum, Passenger Services System with SITA, arrangements for its IATA two letter code and membership and several others including shortlisting of professionals. A batch of industry trained people were recruited and the Travel Division was to be fully operational at Chennai from the first week of August 2011 to be followed very soon by its branch locations at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madurai and other cities.
- Air Dravida at airlineupdate.com
- "First regional carrier Air Dravida plans to connect South India". ExpressTravelWorld. July 2006. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- India Trav Talk 30 July 2006
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 56.
- "Air Dravida to operationalize 3 flights in Chennai-Madurai sector from July". Mint. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2012.