Indian start-up Fly91 (GOA, Goa Dabolim) has received its air operator's certificate (AOC) from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, with the airline confirming the award via its social media channels on March 6.

"Four years of hard work and dedication by the Fly91 team has paid off," the posting enthused. CEO Manoj Chacko told local news outlets he intends to launch scheduled operations "within the next few days."

Securing the AOC follows Fly91 conducting a series of test flights after the airline took delivery of its first aircraft, an ATR72-600 registered as VT-FIB (msn 1385), in January. Fly91 has since taken delivery of a second ATR72-600, VT-FLY (msn 1364). Both turboprops are being leased to the start-up by VMAN Aero Services. Chacko hopes to secure four more ATRs by September and then add six per year for the next five years.

Manoj Chako is a former vice president of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines (Mumbai International). Fly91's investors include Harsha Raghavan of Convergent Finance, who tipped in INR2 billion rupees (USD24 million) in start-up funding, and Rajeev Chitrabhanu, founder of the investment platform Magnetic.

Fly91 intends to provide last-mile connectivity into India's tier II and III cities, initially from its Goa base. It is tapping the Indian government's regional air connectivity scheme Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), which among other things underwrites flights on unserved or underserved routes. The government has already awarded FLY91 the rights to fly to Malvan, Jalgaon, Nanded, and Agatti Island.