flybig (FLG, Indore) hopes to onboard a new investor soon to raise INR1 billion rupee (USD13.4 million) as it struggles to stay afloat, founder and managing director Sanjay Mandavia has told Indian newspaper, The Hindu Business Line.

It reports the airline has been facing severe headwinds as it has been unable to secure funding during the past six months, following its launch in January 2021. Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper reported the carrier had deferred salary payments and the induction of more aircraft, while several executives have left.

ch-aviation was unable to reach Mandavia for comment, but sources close to the airline said the airline was facing "serious financial issues" with some executives not having been paid for two months, with 50% of deferred salary arrears pending from April 2020. The sources, who asked not to be named, claimed taxes had also not been paid. "They are looking for financiers but don't have one as of date," they said.

Research revealed that Chief Executive Officer Srinivas Rao left the airline in June 2021 to become a self-employed aviation consultant, while Chief Financial Officer Rajarshi Sen had already left in April 2021 to assume the position of senior vice president at Vman Aviation Services, according to their LinkedIn profiles. However, according to advertisements placed on LinkedIn three weeks ago, the airline is urgently seeking to hire customer service and cargo employees.

The airline currently leases one ATR72-500, VT-FBA (msn 0955), from Airframe Leasing (S) Pte Ltd, the ch-aviation fleets module shows. According to Flightradar24 ADS-B data, the aircraft is currently flying city-pair routes between Kolkata and Guwahati, Agartala and Dibrugarh, Pasighat and Guwahati, and Agartala and Guwahati. According to local news reports, it started operating the Agartala sector on June 25 under the Indian government’s UDAN regional connectivity scheme. A flybig flight to Rupsi on June 26 was also reflected on social media by the airport operator. Meanwhile, The Shillong Times, quoting a flybig official, on July 19 reported the carrier was expected to resume services on the Shillong-Delhi International route.

Business Line reported that Mandavia had launched flybig in January after he had lost out on a bid to acquire Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International) under that airline’s insolvency process. At the time of the launch, Mandavia had planned to induct at least five aircraft this year for services under the UDAN scheme, the newspaper said.

As previously reported, flybig had been in talks with Hindustan Aeronautics (Bengaluru HAL) to buy four 19-seater Do228s.