Malayali Manoj Chacko on his Fly91 airline: The aim is to increase air connectivity between small towns

Manoj Chacko (left) and his aircraft of Fly91 airline. Photo: Special Arrangement

The new kid on the airline block, Fly91, is gearing up to commence its commercial operations within a week. The startup airways, which is helmed by Keralite Manoj Chacko, is eyeing to start services with a fleet of small aircraft in sectors having a flying time of 60 to 90 minutes. The airliner is on track to launch the flight services as it recently got the requisite nod from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Manoj Chacko, who has his familial roots in Anjoor near Kunnumkulam in Thrissur district, was born in Goa. The airline would be operating services with the Manohar International Airport in Goa as its home base. The airways was named ‘Fly 91’ after India’s telephone code ‘91’. In a freewheeling chat, Fly91 Managing Director and CEO Manoj Chacko talks about the future course of the airline.

A few words about the airline.
The aim is to increase air connectivity between small towns. The airline is planning to operate two 72-seater ATR 72-600 aircraft, and the number of planes would be increased to six in six months. Initially, the flights would connect Goa with Lakshadweep and plans are on the anvil to launch flight services between Bengaluru and Lakshadweep. The airline would have bi-weekly or tri-weekly services in the initial period of its operations.

What about services to Kerala?
Presently, we don’t have plans to start services to Kerala and the state would be on our radar in the next phase of scaling up. The first set of routes includes places such as Goa, Jalgaon, Sindhudurg, Nanded, Pune (Maharashtra), Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

What are your business plans?
The future is bright as we are planning to have a fleet of 35 aircraft and operate services to 50 cities in five years.

Throw some light on the journey towards Fly91.
I have been part of the travel and aviation sectors in various capacities for the past 25 years. I was the executive vice president of Kingfisher Airlines. I have also worked in India as the sales manager of Emirates. My long-standing association with the aviation industry gave me the confidence to roll out an airline company. Fly91 is nothing but a grouping of people who have rich experience in the aviation sector. The seed capital of the airline is Rs 200 crore, which includes private equity.

What about the preparations that went into starting an airline?
A comprehensive study of both successful and unsuccessful airline companies was done. The research was more to find out why an airline failed miserably to ensure that our airliner didn’t make the same mistakes. It has been four years since we started our earnest efforts to start Fly91. The aviation industry is riddled with many regulations and stringent criteria, and we have met the standard.

What about your family?
My parents, who were teachers, migrated to Goa from Kunnumkulam in 1965.  

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