Fly91 Airline: Special inaugural fare of Rs 1,991; Services to Lakshadweep from April

The maiden flight of the airways took off from the Manohar International Airport at 7.55 am for the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on March 18. Photo: Special Arrangement

Goa-based Fly91, the latest airline to hit the Indian skies, has launched an inaugural special fare of Rs 1,991, which is inclusive of all charges. The maiden flight of the airways took off from the Manohar International Airport at 7.55 am for the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on March 18. The new airline aims to operate services not only from big cities but also from tier 2 and tier 3 towns in India.

The airline flew two flights on the first day of operation and the second service was between Bengaluru and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra. In the first phase, Fly91 would offer flight services to Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Sindhudurg. Plans are on the anvil to start flight services to Agatti, Jalgaon and Pune in April.

Fly91 Managing Director and CEO Manoj Chacko said that the airline also aims to take the flying experience to the common man. The airline has plans to operate commercial flights between important centers at regular intervals. The airliner will operate three services on Monday, Friday and Saturday between Goa and Bengaluru and a similar frequency of flights is expected in the Bengaluru-Sindhudurg sector. The Goa-Hyderabad and Sindhudurg-Hyderabad routes will have bi-weekly flight services.

Initially, the airline will operate services with two ATR 72-600 airplanes and four more aircraft will be added to its fleet in the next few months. The first set of routes was fixed as per the Center’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN). The flight services to destinations such as Goa, Hyderabad, Pune, Sindhudurg, Jalgaon, Nanded and Agatti will augur well for the flyers.

10-year-old dream comes true
Through the launch of Fly91 airline, the 10-year-old dream of Manoj Chacko has become a reality. He approached more than 200 investors to park their funds in the airline but in vain. The majority of investors might have shied away from investing in his company as he was a founding member of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Manoj Chacko wanted a seed capital of Rs 200 crore to kickstart his dream project and Convergent Finance gave an assurance to invest Rs 100 crore in the airline a few years ago. The real struggle was to raise the remaining Rs 100 crore. Finally, Manoj Chacko mobilized funds to the tune of Rs 100 crore from 40 investors.

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

About 60% of domestic air passenger traffic revolves around cities such as Delhi, Mumbai Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai, and these numbers have remained unchanged for the past 10 years. The fact that 46% of flight services, which were started under the Regional Connectivity Scheme with government subsidies, had been grounded is not at all encouraging. The greatest challenge is to operate services with tier 2 and tier 3 cities on the radar.

The business mantra of Fly91 is to work in tandem with big and established airlines instead of competing with them. Fly91’s mission is to chalk out flight timings in such a way that the airways would be able to carry passengers to small towns from big cities where the seasoned airlines have a presence. Positive signals are on the horizon for the airline industry as there is a 30% jump in Srinagar and 15 to 20% spike in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh in passenger traffic.

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