NEW DELHI: Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air has received no-objection certification (NoC) from the civil aviation ministry and hopes to start operations by summer of 2022. Akasa Air and three other airline companies had applied for NoC from the ministry to start scheduled air passengers services and air cargo services in August.
Akasa’s approval coincidentally comes days after Jhunjhunwala had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The investor is expected to own nearly 40% stake in the airline and is considering investing $35 million in the venture.
Akasa will now have to apply for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for its operations permit. Beside Jhunjhunwala, Akasa is backed by industry veteran Vinay Dube, the former CEO of Jet Airways who will also head operations at Akasa. Previous CEO of IndiGo Aditya Ghosh is also associated with the airline.
“We are extremely happy and grateful to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for their support and for the grant of the NoC. We will continue to work with the regulatory authorities on all additional compliances required to successfully launch Akasa Air,” Dube, now CEO of Akasa Air, said in a statement.
He added, “Akasa Air will serve all Indians regardless of their socio economic or cultural backgrounds with warmth, inclusiveness and respect. Because at the end of the day, it is these qualities that connect people and cultures and help Indians realise their dreams.”
The airline is in talks with US-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing for buying up to 100 737 Max plane. According to reports, Airbus too has pitched its narrow-body Airbus A320Neo to Akasa’s management.
The approval comes at a time when India’s aviation industry is showing signs of a string recovery.
The industry is also going through a structural change with India’s largest conglomerate Tata Group winning bid for ailing national carrier Air India and Jet Airways’ new management confident of restarting operations early next year. However, rising oil prices and uncertainties around Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose a big risk to the sector.