GOA- Fly91, a regional Indian startup airline, has concluded lease agreements for two ATR-72 aircraft with plans to commence operations in the first quarter of the calendar year 2024, according to statements made by the founder and CEO, Manoj Chacko.
Chacko, previously an executive vice president at Kingfisher Airlines, has joined forces with Harsha Raghavan, former head of Fairfax India, to establish the airline. The operational base for Fly91 is slated to be Mopa Airport in Goa, reported Hindu Business Line.
Fly91 Delays Launch
Although Fly91 initially aimed for an October launch, the timeline has experienced setbacks due to delays in procuring aircraft. However, Chacko is emphatic that the project is proceeding as planned, and there is no actual delay.
“There is no issue regarding the availability of ATR aircraft. Planes are available for lease, but lessors have become exceptionally cautious about India following the recent Go First collapse. We are demonstrating to lessors that we are well-funded with a strong team. We have already secured leases for our first two ATR-72 600 aircraft,” affirmed Chacko.
Fly91 is set to operate on both Udan and non-Udan routes, connecting tier II and III cities. Udan, short for Ude Desh ka Aam Aadmi, represents the government’s primary regional connectivity scheme.
The airline obtained a no-objection certificate from the Civil Aviation Ministry in April. In July, it successfully secured the bid to operate flights from Sindhudurg, Jalgaon, Nanded (all in Maharashtra), and Agatti (Lakshadweep) to Bengaluru, Goa, Hyderabad, and Pune under the Udan scheme.
“The initial group of pilots, engineers, and cabin crew have joined us and are currently undergoing training. Our headquarters and training facility in Goa are fully constructed and operational. We are closely collaborating with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to obtain all necessary approvals,” stated Chacko.
Eyes Six Aircraft Fleet by 2025
“We will initially commence operations with two aircraft and plan to expand our fleet to six aircraft within the next 12 months,” he added.
Air travel in India is experiencing a surge, with passenger traffic growing by 27 percent on a year-on-year basis between January and October. November has also witnessed record traffic after a slow start. However, not all players are benefiting from this surge in traffic.
Earlier this month, regional airline FlyBig had to suspend its ATR aircraft operations. The airline attributed the crisis to the non-availability of spares, while lessors repossessed the aircraft due to delayed rent payments.
Alliance Air also faced challenges, grounding four of its ATR aircraft for the past 3-4 months, reducing its flight operations.
Due to supply chain issues, Bigger airlines may face challenges in expanding their regional operations. “Supply chain issues are now a critical risk and could have a deeper and more strategic impact than anticipated. This could, for example, affect the ability of mainline scheduled airlines to operate their Udan flights,” noted aviation consultancy CAPA in its mid-year outlook last week.
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