Thursday, July 06, 2023

FlyBig has changed its order with De Havilland for a more economical option: Sanjay Mandavia

Captain Sanjay Mandavia, Chairman and Managing Director of regional carrier FlyBig, said that his airline has changed its last year's order for 10 De Havilland Q400 aircraft to the more economical Q300 G, deliveries for which will start in the second quarter of 2024-25.

In March 2022, FlyBig signed a letter of intent with Canadian aircraft manufacturer De Havilland to acquire 10 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, two of which will be delivered to FlyBig by September 2023.

However, the airline now plans to acquire 10 new DHC-6 Twin Otter Classic 300-G aircraft, which will be delivered to FlyBig starting July 2024, Mandavia told Moneycontrol.

He added that FlyBig will use one of the two Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft to fly out of Dehradun.

"Our first flight (to be launched this month using the Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft) will connect all major towns of Uttarakhand, like Pithoragarh and Pantnagar, and by the end of August we will start Ludhiana and Bhatinda from Hindon," Mandavia said.

The pilot-turned-entrepreneur added that FlyBig was looking at all aircraft weighing less than 5,700 kg to take advantage of the concessions available to smaller planes under the government's regional connectivity scheme (RCS), Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN).

"For affordable last-mile travel, we will pass on to consumers some of the subsidies available for such aircraft under UDAN 4.2," Mandavia said.

FlyBig has won 84 routes under the UDAN scheme and is planning to have a large base out of Lucknow.

He added that the versatility of the De Havilland aircraft, which can touch down on both water and land, is letting FlyBig consider unique routes, especially in the north-east.

"India is developing a lot of sea routes, and there is a lot of interest from state governments in connecting such routes. We can deploy this aircraft on a riverfront like Sabarmati. There are a couple of sectors in the north-east as well that the government wants to connect," added Mandavi.

FlyBig was earlier looking at the Hindustan Aeronautics Dornier-228 aircraft.

06/07/2023 Yaruqhullah Khan/Moneycontrol

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