flybig (S9, Indore) is in talks with lessors to acquire as many as 36 more aircraft as demand for domestic travel in India surges, with potential in particular seen in the country’s more remote regions, an unnamed spokesperson for the Indian regional carrier has told the news website Smart Aviation Asia-Pacific.

Travel within India is resuming strongly as the market recovers from the pandemic, and Flybig’s board of directors has reportedly authorised the sourcing of more aircraft to meet demand to add to its current fleet of two Avions de Transport Régional turboprops.

The airline can see a great deal of demand for travel from areas under the Indian government’s UDAN regional airport development programme, “especially in the tier-two and tier-three markets where the remote regions are,” the spokesperson said. “We see this as an opportunity to grow our presence strategically and organically. We are looking to [gradually] get 36 aircraft to fulfil this increase in capacity and are currently in talks with different lessors.”

However, the spokesperson declined to give a timeframe for the fleet ramp-up or reveal the aircraft types being searched for.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Flybig currently operates one ATR72-500 leased from Avation and one ATR72-600, the latter being the first of two -600s which a source at the carrier said last month were expected to arrive by April. The pair are being leased from DAE Capital via Indian lessor Vman Aviation Services based in Gujarat Gift City. That source said Flybig was also planning to wet-lease a DHC-8-Q400.

Smart Aviation Asia-Pacific’s source claimed that the newly delivered turboprop would serve a new UDAN route commencing this month linking Gondia in central India with the metropolis of Hyderabad Int'l. Separate reports said that Gondia would also be connected to Indore. The second ATR 72-600 will be used on UDAN routes in northeast India.