With FLY91, Goa becomes pit stop for exploring India

The airline will operate a fleet of ATR 72-600 and will commence commercial operations from March 18, 2024
READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and other dignitaries during the take off of the first FLY91 flight.
READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and other dignitaries during the take off of the first FLY91 flight. Gomantak Times

Goa’s Greenfield airport now has its own Greenfield airline. Headquartered at the Manohar International Airport, Mopa, the Indian aviation industry has welcomed another metal bird to its skies, and this one calls itself – FLY91!

The new airline was launched on March 12, 2024, at the Manohar International Airport, Mopa, in the presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and additionally, virtually flagged off by Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia.

AGATTI DIRECT: The Chief Minister Pramod Sawant gets a boarding pass from Manoj Chacko, the airline CEO and MD.
AGATTI DIRECT: The Chief Minister Pramod Sawant gets a boarding pass from Manoj Chacko, the airline CEO and MD.

Cleverly named FLY91, to match the Indian country dialing code, +91, the regional airline aims at travelling across India under the government’s regional connectivity scheme (RCS), UDAN.

The highlight of the event was a joy ride for a select few to Agatti, Lakshadweep, and back to Goa by evening.

Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte, congratulated Manoj Chacko, the airline CEO and MD, said, “Manoj has given Goa what was long overdue. Goa has been awarded as the destination of the year at ITP Berlin. FLY91 is allowing us to connect to Lakshadweep and allows a lot of international and domestic tourists to start going and looking at other states from Goa.”

READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and other dignitaries during the take off of the first FLY91 flight.
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The airline will operate a fleet of ATR 72-600 and will commence commercial operations from March 18, 2024, with its first commercial flight scheduled to take off from Goa’s Manohar International Airport, Mopa to Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru, and will also operate a flight from Bengaluru to Sindhudurg on the same day.

“We are going to be connected to historic places that are very popular for tourism. This is the first time that any airline has a direct flight between Goa and Lakshadweep,” began Chacko who hails from Porvorim.

READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and other dignitaries during the take off of the first FLY91 flight.
Regional airline, FLY91, gets off to a flying start in Goa

In time, the regional airline will offer weekly flights between the Manohar International Airport and Bengaluru and Hyderabad, as well as connectivity between Sindhudurg to Bengaluru and Hyderabad. In the months to come, FLY91 will incorporate flights to Agatti, Pune, Jalgaon and Nanded.

“It is so nice to see a Goa-based air service which has been brought to life by a Goan itself. I hope that the near future sees a rise in many more Goa-based airlines. Time is precious and people don’t mind spending money on tickets anymore if it saves them the travel time, hence, FLY91 is a great initiative that connects the small cities,” Sawant said.

READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and other dignitaries during the take off of the first FLY91 flight.
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A personal touch away from the usual aviation way of life is that every FLY91 aircraft will return to Goa at the end of the day, thus promising all crew and personnel an adequate amount of rest to return to work, refreshed the following day.

Interestingly, “Goa as a base has been a huge attraction with pilots. Typically, pilots across the age of 40 to 45 have a second home in Goa,” Chacko smiled.

READY FOR TAKE-OFF: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, North Goa MP Shripad Naik, Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte and other dignitaries during the take off of the first FLY91 flight.
How Mopa airport is changing Goa’s aviation story

“What we look at is the mix of traffic. Goa is connected well by airlines, but everybody is forced to follow a ‘tourist schedule’. The schedule from Goa usually never meets the requirement for a regular person living in Goa wanting to go to other cities. We will also cater partly to that,” said Chacko, while explaining why FLY91 has handpicked the few places that have made it to their weekly roster.

He, along with many others, is optimistic about the future of his airline that has just taken off into the blue skies.

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