Mumbai: Zoom Air is in talks with investors and private equity firms to raise about Rs100 crore to finance its expansion, managing director and chief executive Koustav Dhar said.

The airline, operated by Zexus Air Services Pvt. Ltd, is planning to extensively connect North East India under the government’s regional connectivity scheme (RCS).

“The airline, which is in advanced stage of talks with investors and private equity firms, hopes to raise this money before the end of the current fiscal," Dhar said in an interview.

The scheduled operator plans to sell up to 30% stake to investors before the end of the calendar year, and at least 15% stake before 31 March 2018, Dhar said, adding the funds will be used to buy planes and operate routes under the RCS.

Zoom Air, which started flying on 12 February 2017, currently operates in the Delhi-Jabalpur-Kolkata sector. The airline, which runs its operations on three Bombardier CRJ-200LR aircraft, will add two more similar planes to its fleet by 30 April. Two of the five aircraft will be used exclusively to serve the RCS routes.

Dhar said the airline, which has been awarded six networks and 12 routes under RCS 2, will start its first flight under the scheme (Kolkata-Tejpur) by 15 March. Zoom Air will look to operate on maximum routes in the North East, both within and outside the purview of the RCS.

“We are looking at connecting Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and other states in the region with Kolkata and Guwahati as hubs," Dhar said.

The airline is also looking to start international operations connecting the region with neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, he added.

Zoom Air will add 4 Bombardier CRJ-900, 94-seater air planes, from November 2018, Dhar added. The airline also plans to purchase sea planes and fly them under the RCS.

“We are currently looking at geographies like West Bengal, Assam and Orissa for operating sea planes," Dhar said, adding the airline could purchase its first sea plane as early as October.

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