Akasa Air to buy 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Akasa Air expands fleet with a major purchase of 150 Boeing jets to boost growth
(Representational Image)
(Representational Image)

NEW DELHI: The country’s newest carrier Akasa Air on Thursday placed a firm order of 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at WINGS India 2024, Hyderabad.

The order, which consists of 737 MAX 10 and 737 MAX 8-200 jets, will provide the airline with a steady aircraft delivery stream through 2032, cementing the company’s domestic and international expansion plans, the carrier said.

This is the third biggest order for planes Indian carriers have made in the last one year as they expect the country’s aviation sector to become one of the largest markets in the world. Leading airline IndiGo in June last year placed a firm order for 500 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. This deal overtook Tata Group-owned Air India’s mammoth order of 470 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus placed in March 2023. While Akasa has not announced the deal value, analysts tracking the sector peg the current order between $15-20 billion.

Boeing’s 737 MAX family provides greater range and fuel efficiency. However, these aircraft have been in the news for safety concerns for the past few years. Earlier this month, aviation regulators worldwide increased inspection of 737 Max planes after an emergency exit door of Alaska Airlines’s B737-9 Max aircraft (flying from Portland to Ontario) on January 5 blew out soon after takeoff, putting the lives of 177 passengers on board at risk.

Akasa’s order, however, is of MAX-10 and MAX-8 planes. The order doesn’t include the Max 9 variant which was involved in the recent Alaska Airlines incident. Earlier, 737 Max planes were grounded worldwide for the most part of 2019 and 2020 after 345 people died in two separate crashes.

Vinay Dube, founder and CEO, Akasa Air, said, “This large and historic aircraft order puts Akasa on a path of becoming one of the top 30 leading airlines in the world, by the turn of this decade…These additions to our fleet will help us bolster the strength of our operations as we expand our footprint and foray into international skies in the very near future…We are at a cusp where it is natural for our ecosystem to celebrate our financial stability, growth potential and market share.”

In 2021, Akasa Air had placed its initial order of 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which was followed up with an order of 4 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in June 2023. This deal in January 2024, takes the airline’s order book to a 226 aircraft. The planes are powered by CFM LEAP-1B engines. Akasa Air currently operates a fleet of 22 aircraft and will receive deliveries of a total of 204 aircraft over the course of eight years. Three Indian carriers together now have ordered a total of 1,120 planes in less than one year. Currently, the fleet size of the Indian airlines is 730.

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The New Indian Express