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Regional airline Fly91 receives govt approval, targets Oct launch

Goa-based carrier is promoted by former executives of Fairfax and Kingfisher

Fly91

Fly91 (Photo: Twitter)

Aneesh Phadnis Mumbai

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Fly91, a regional start-up airline based in Goa, has received 'no objection' clearance (NOC) from the civil aviation ministry to start operations.

Fly91 aims to start flights in the October-December quarter. It is promoted by Harsha Raghavan, the former Fairfax India head, and Manoj Chacko, executive vice president of suspended Kingfisher Airlines.

"Securing the NOC is an important milestone and we are happy about it. But it is like reaching the base camp of Mount Everest and now the real climb will begin. We plan to apply to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for an air operator certificate in two-three weeks," said Chacko.

Fly91 has selected ATR-72 aircraft for operations and intends to get 6-7 planes in the first year of operations. Thereafter, it plans to add an equal number of aircraft for the next five years. "We are in advanced stages of discussion with lessors and OEMs. Our core team is in place. We also have received commitments from pilots who want to join us. Initially we will have a strength of 200 employees," he said.

Fly91 will have Goa as its headquarters and it is looking for airports in North and West India as secondary bases.

The new airline will be based in Goa's second airport situated in Mopa in northern part of the state. The airport began operations earlier this year and in the first quarter handled over 700,000 passengers. The airport is now connected to 21 destinations with the addition of eight routes in summer schedule.

"Gradual & constant growth in the number of destinations will boost the tourism & positively impact socio-economic activities in Goa," the airport's CEO R V Seshan said in a statement last week.

The planned launch of Fly91 comes in the backdrop of expansion of government's regional connectivity scheme. Last week, the government launched fifth round of the scheme known as Udan. 

Over 450 routes have been operationalised under the scheme which connects unserved and underserved towns. Over 11.3 million passengers have flown in more than 200,000 Udan flights since the scheme was launched in 2017, the ministry said in February.

"UDAN has proved to be a lifeblood of many regions which are now well connected with places across the country. This new & stronger version of the scheme will raise the momentum, connecting new routes, and bring us closer to the target of operationalizing 1000 routes & 50 additional airports, heliports, and water aerodromes in the near future," civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said last week.


Get, set, fly 
 
 In two to three weeks, Fly91 will apply to DGCA for air operator certificate 

Airline’s core team in place; to hire 200 employees initially 

DGCA approval crucial to launch operations

Fly91 in advanced stages of negotiations to acquire ATR-72 aircraft

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First Published: Apr 26 2023 | 1:04 PM IST

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