NEW DELHI: Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air is aiming to start flights in late May or early June this year after getting its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in April, said a senior airline official.
“We hope to get our first aircraft in the second half of April, the first commercial flight in late May or early June. we are working with the government, DGCA to go through all of the requirements that are there,” Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube said. The carrier is looking to have 18 planes in its fleet by the end of March 2023.
Akasa had announced its entry into the country’s aviation space last year amidst the ongoing Covid pandemic that has severely impacted the industry, especially the airlines.
In no time, the airline which has top names from the aviation industry inked a $9 billion deal with Boeing for 72 Boeing 737 MAX planes. It was then told that the company would begin its maiden flight by early 2022.
However, the emergence of the Omicron variant of coronavirus disrupted flight movements and delayed the recovery of the sector. Despite the Covid clouds continuing to cast a shadow on the airlines, Dube is optimistic as he asserted that “if you look at the long term future of commercial aviation in India, it is as exciting as anywhere in the world”.
Dube informed that Akasa will have services from metros to Tier II and III cities. There will also be flights from metros to metros so that the aircraft is moved around the system. He added that the airline will target overseas flights in the second half of the calendar year 2023 once there are 20 planes in its fleet.
“Boeing 737 MAX gives us good range. We can fly to Southeast Asia, SAARC countries, the Middle East. That is our intention,” he said. The airline has started hiring people and planning routes with airports, he said.