Mumbai-based private equity firm Convergent Finance and former Kingfisher Airlines executive Manoj Chacko have announced the formation of Fly91 (IC, Goa Dabolim), a new Indian regional airline that aims to begin operations by December 2023.

In a joint statement, the parties said Convergent Finance and funds advised by the firm would anchor Fly91's initial INR2 billion rupee (USD24.3 million) investment.

UDO Aviation Private Limited, a holding company set up by Chacko that owns Fly91, has applied for a No Objection Certificate and for requisite security clearances from the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation. According to Chacko, Fly91 will operate a young fleet of ATR72-600s.

Fly91 aims to operate in the short-haul segment (45 and 90-minute flights), serving underserved regional airports under the Indian government's Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). Commercial operations will debut from Goa Dabolim, which will be the start-up's first base. The region is one of India's most popular tourist destinations.

Convergent Finance Managing Partner Harsha Raghavan will be Fly91's chairman, and Chacko will be the airline's chief executive officer. The latter has more than three decades of experience spanning airline, travel, and allied industries, amongst them executive positions at WNS Global Services, SOTC Travel, Kingfisher Airlines, and Emirates. Other members of the management team claim experience at various aviation companies, including Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Vistara, AirAsia, and Gulf Air.

As the co-founding partner, Convergent will work with Fly91 on operations, capital allocation, and long-term business strategy said Raghavan. "The India growth story goes beyond five metros, with nearly 50 cities having a population of more than one million. Manoj's vision to serve these cities and his decades of experience in India's airline and travel sectors makes him the kind of passionate entrepreneur whose idea we can back with our capital," he stated.

"Harsha and the Convergent team's operational expertise and deep networks will be invaluable as we build Fly91 to be India's leading pure-play regional airline. The funds we raise will ensure that we are well capitalised and that we can set up the airline for long-term success," Chacko added.

The name Fly91 relates to India's country code, 91.