Indian startup Air Mantra, which is part of charter operator Religare Voyages Ltd., is scheduled to launch July 23 with daily flights between Amritsar and Chandigarh, cities in the country’s north.

The first airline to be launched in the country in the last five years, Air Mantra will start with a fleet of two 17-seat Beechcraft 1900Ds previously operated on charter service. But Religare Voyages CEO Sandeep Bhatt says the airline intends to add larger turboprops, with ATRs and Bombardier Q400s likely candidates.

“We were already operating non-scheduled operations with Beechcraft aircraft. We converted those airplanes to get a regional scheduled operation licence to test the market. We will upscale the operations gradually,” Bhatt says.

“It will not compete with commercial airline companies. Instead, it would serve as a feeder service,” he adds.

Beechcraft 1900D photo: Lommer