flybig (FLG, Indore) founder and pilot-turned-entrepreneur Sanjay Mandavia is planning to pair the start-up regional carrier with a revived Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International) if his bid for the latter is successful, Moneycontrol has reported.

Mandavia is bidding for Jets' remaining assets in a consortium with New Delhi’s Flight Simulation Technique Centre and Abu Dhabi’s Imperial Capital Investments. He plans to revive the defunct carrier on trunk routes, while FlyBig would feed into the network from smaller markets, including many government-subsidised UDAN routes.

The deadline for the selection of investors for Jet Airways was recently postponed beyond August 21 due to the ongoing pandemic.

However, COVID-19 is not throwing FlyBig off its course. The regional specialist hopes to conclude its certification with India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in time for a planned October 2020 launch, Chief Executive Srinivas Rao said.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline has revised its launch schedule from the originally planned April 2020 date but sees no reason to delay it beyond 2020. Rao said that FlyBig, which will operate out of Indore in central India, has already secured one ATR - Avions de Transport Régional turboprop, which is awaiting delivery next month.

The airline's first ATR72-500 will be VT-FBB (msn 688), a 18.3-year-old ex-VASCO - Vietnam Air Services unit currently undergoing maintenance at Ho Chi Minh City.

FlyBig said it would be looking for further ATRs in Australia. According to the ch-aviation fleets module, twelve ex-Virgin Australia ATR72-600s are currently stored in Australia and New Zealand, including nine owned by Avation and three by Chorus Aviation Capital. The pool of passenger ATRs in Australia also includes one ATR42-300 and three ATR72-500s operated by Hevilift Australia (Brisbane International).

FlyBig plans to launch with two ATR turboprops but foresees growth to around 20.