Regional airline FLY91 will commence its commercial flights on March 18. The airline will have around 350 staff at the end of the first year of operations and aims to break even within two years, according to a top executive.

The Goa-based airline currently has two ATR 72-600 planes in its fleet and four more aircraft will be added in the first year of operations.

The carrier's MD and CEO Manoj Chacko said there is no need to raise funds now, as it will also be getting Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN.

"We also have VGF for the sectors we have won. If we take all the sectors we have secured and if we operate the full schedule, then on an annualised basis, it will be around ₹200 crore," he told PTI in a recent interview.

The airline expects to break even in 18-24 months, he said and added that the focus is to build a profitable, sustainable and scalable business.

In the inaugural phase, FLY91 will offer weekly flights between Goa's Manohar International Airport and Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It will also provide connectivity between Sindhudurg, in Maharashtra to Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Subsequently, the airline will start flights to Agatti, Pune, Jalgaon and Nanded. The services to Agatti in Lakshadweep will commence from April.

Currently, the carrier has a staff strength of around 200 and the count will rise to about 350 to 360 by the end of the first year of operations.

"I have got 200 people (now) with 2 aircraft. 4 more aircraft are coming and another 100 people will be added. I have two stations open and another three stations, they will need 50 staff... So, it will be around 350-360 in the first year of operations," Chacko noted.

He spoke to PTI onboard the airline's ceremonial flight from Goa to Agatti on March 12.

According to him, the FLY91 team studied 24 airlines, successful as well as failed ones, to understand the factors that led to their successes and failures.

"Let us copy what the successful airlines did and let us ensure that we avoid things which failed airlines have been through," Chacko, who has also worked with Emirates and the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, said.

The airline received its air operator permit from aviation regulator DGCA on March 6.