Religare-run Air Mantra goes off air
Mumbai: Religare group-promoted Air Mantra has suspended operations and stopped taking bookings, citing technical reasons. "The operations have been suspended. We are not accepting bookings either," was the response of the airline call centre executive upon enquiry for a ticket today.
When contacted, Sandeep Bhatt, chief executive officer, Religare Voyages, the operator of Air Mantra, refused to comment. The Religare group is promoted by ex-Ranbaxy Labs promoters Malvinder and Shivinder Singh brothers, and is now into corporate hospitals (Fortis Healthcare); financial services including broking, lending, asset management, wealth management; life and health insurance; and diagnostic labs (SRL Diagnostics) among others.
Asked on what grounds the operations have been suspended, the executive said, "due to technical reasons." But he did not provide further details, except informing that the airline has not been operating since the past 20-odd days.
Sources, however, attributed poor load factor as the primary reason for grounding. Touted as the first regional airline since 2007, Air Mantra commenced operations last July with daily flights connecting Amritsar and Chandigarh by two 19-seater Beechcraft 1900D aircraft.
Later it added Dehradun to its network. According to the DGCA statistics, the airline cancelled every second flight in January and recorded a seat factor of as low as 20 per cent, while in the preceding month, it was a shade better at 23 per cent occupancy.