flybig (S9, Indore) has secured its Air Operator's Permit (AOP) from the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and is now preparing to commence in-house flight operations.

"We got the Air Operator's Certificate from industry regulator DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) on December 14," Accountable Manager Sanjay Mandavia told Moneycontrol.

Although it has yet to debut operations using its own aircraft - ATR72-500s - the start-up wet-leased a Dash 8-400 from SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l) for the inaugural flight between Delhi Int'l and Shillong in northeast India on December 21.

"We have won the tender from the [Meghalaya] state government to operate the Delhi-Shillong flight for three years," CEO Srinivas Rao said.

From its Indore hub, FlyBig will initially offer flights to Bhopal and Ahmedabad with Jabalpur to follow later on. The second phase will focus on India's North-East market where, apart from the Delhi-Shillong route, Flybig will set up a base in Guwahati for use in serving Imphal, Aizawl, and Tezpur.

FlyBig is also in talks with Hindustan Aeronautics (Bangalore HAL) to buy four 19-seater Do228s that it is looking to deploy on flights connecting Tier III cities such as Bilaspur and Satna with Bhopal. The turboprop also has an advantage in that it can also be converted into a freighter or an air ambulance, Rao said.