According to a Times Online article, Indian entrepreneur and retired Indian Airlines engineer Bahadur Chand Gupta has given a new twist to the concept of low-cost airlines. The passengers boarding his Airbus 300 in Delhi do not expect to go anywhere because it never takes off. All the passengers want is the chance to know what it is like to sit on a plane, listen to announcements and be waited on by stewardesses bustling up and down the aisle.
As on an ordinary aircraft, customers buckle themselves in and watch a safety demonstration. But when they look out of the windows, the landscape never changes. The airplane being used has only one wing and a large part of the tail is missing. Gupta’s regular announcements include, “We will soon be passing through a zone of turbulence” and “We are about to begin our descent into Delhi.”
The plane has no lighting and the lavatories are out of order. The air-conditioning is powered by a generator. Even so, about 40 passengers turn up each Saturday to queue for boarding cards.
Passengers are looked after by a crew of six, including Gupta’s wife, who goes up and down the aisle with her drinks trolley, serving meals in airline trays.
Gupta bought the plane in 2003 from an insurance company. It was dismantled and then put together again (Well, almost). The Indian Airline logo on the fuselage has been replaced by the name Gupta.
Gupta charges about £2 each for passengers taking these “virtual journeys”. See for yourself!