Air Deccan (DKN, Nashik) is using its COVID-19-induced grounding to proceed with the renewal of its fleet, Chief Executive Arun Kumar Singh told Cirium.

The Indian regional specialist has already resolved to return both of its Beech 1900Ds to their lessor and is currently talking to manufacturers about new equipment. Singh did not name any specific types but said Air Deccan was on the lookout for "smaller commuter aircraft".

Air Deccan suspended all operations and furloughed staff on April 5 until further notice.

"We can't keep pumping in money when there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Look what happened to Virgin Australia. The situation compared to other Indian carriers is not anyway extra bad for us; it’s just we saw that coming quickly," Singh said.

The airline, which traces its origins to India's first low-cost carrier Air Deccan (2003) (DN, Bangalore Int'l) (later rebranded as Kingfisher Red), relaunched in 2017 as a new regional airline using its bankrupt predecessor's brand. The new Air Deccan has chosen to focus on the regional market, boosted by the government-run UDAN subsidisation scheme, instead of reentering the now-crowded field of mainline LCCs.

The Indian government ordered a nationwide suspension of all flights as of March 23 amid a nationwide lockdown which is set to continue at least through May 3.