FlyBig, the regional carrier, is likely to induct two aircraft, sub-leased by GIFT City’s Vman Aerospace, by March-end.
A source told Hindu BusinessLine that Vman Aerospace leased the two ATR 72-600s aircraft from Dubai Aerospace Enterprise The registration numbers for the aircraft will be VT TMC and VT TMT said the source.
A source from the airline said with the induction of these two aircraft, the regional carrier will have three aircraft on its fleet. FlyBig also plans to wet-lease another Q400 aircraft soon.
Earlier Flybig planned to induct five aircraft by the end of March 2022, and 75,000 seats to offer with over 35 departures in a day. It will operate mainly under UDAN, connecting the Northeast and Central East part of India.
It’s been over a year since the airline was started by pilot-turned entrepreneur Sanjay Mandavia, who planned to induct at least 24 aircraft and establish FlyBig as a UDAN-4 leader. It was awarded 15 routes. Mandavia had earlier shown interest in acquiring Jet Airways under the insolvency process.
“We plan to induct 24 aircraft, to have a strong base in tier-2 and 3 markets. For that to happen, we need a good market cap. We plan to invest INR 100 crore for expansion later,” said Mandavia.
However, due to an acute cash crunch, and with no investors on board, FlyBig is currently utilising its promotor’s funds. It currently flies seven routes and is planning to start a flight on the Shillong-Delhi route soon.
People in the know said the company is in conversation with multiple investors and may soon find one. The airline’s Passenger Load Factor (PLF) has been increasing on a month-on-month basis, albeit marginally.
In December and November 2021, it carried 0.10 lakh passengers compared to 0.8 lakh passengers in the month before that. However, it has a marginal market share of 0.1%, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
EaseMyTrip, which had announced earlier that it had entered into a partnership with Flybig to sell the latter’s tickets exclusively on its platform, will process all the bookings on Flybig made by any other online travel portal.
Flybig is a regional carrier based in India. The airline commenced operations in December 2020 with the launch of a twice-weekly Delhi-Shillong service. It is promoted by Gurugram-based Big Charter Private Limited. It is focused on connecting tier-2 cities within India.
(With Inputs from The Hindu Business Line)