The Indian skies may soon see a new airline taking off. Fly91 will be promoted by aviation veteran Manoj Chacko and cofounded by Harsha Raghavan, former India head of Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings.
Chacko was the executive vice president of Kingfisher Airlines and chief operating officer and CEO of business travel, SOTC. Harsha was the founding managing director and former CEO of Fairbridge Capital, a wholly-owned India investment subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings.
“We have to remember two critical aspects. The first is that we are fundamentally in the transportation industry and our key focus is to ensure that we transport people from point A to B safely, comfortably and in the most economical way. The second one is to keep things brutally simple and stick to the basics and do them extremely well and not try to reinvent the wheel where not necessary.”Manoj Chacko, Co-Founder, Fly91
Just UDO, the owner of Fly91 (91 for India’s country code), has been set up by Chacko, along with a co-founding team, according to a report by the Economic Times.
Raghavan will co-found the airline through his investment firm Convergent Finance to anchor Fly91’s initial investment of INR 200 crore, as per the report. The promoter company, Just UDO, had last week applied for the initial no-objection certificate (NOC) with the civil aviation ministry.
The airline would be based in Goa. Fly91 will operate a fleet of leased 70-seater ATR 72-600 turboprop jets. The company is in the advanced stages of discussions with plane leasing companies. The airline aims to start operations in September with two aircraft, scale it up to six in the first year of operations and 32 planes in five years.
Fly91 will operate in the short-haul segment – flights of 45 to 90 minutes duration. The airline will be based in its Goa hub and aim to connect underserved airports (from where 30% of India’s domestic traffic originates) as per the Centre’s Regional Connectivity scheme.
(With Inputs from The Economic Times)