Investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-Backed Akasa Air

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First Pics: Investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-Backed Akasa Air

One of the captions of the aircraft’s pictures read: “Coming soon to Your Sky!”

New Delhi:

Akasa Air, backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, tweeted pictures of its new aircraft today and stated that it is on track to launch operations by July.

The airline released the photographs of its first Boeing 737 Max plane from the production facility in Portland, US, as it gets ready for delivery.

“The airline recently reaffirmed its commitment of being on track to receive its first aircraft in India by mid-June and launch commercial operations in India by July 2022,” its statement said. Akasa Air plans to fly 18 aircraft by the end of March 2023 across domestic routes in the country, focusing on metro to tier-2 and tier-3 cities, it noted.

Last week, the airline said its carrier code with be “QP”.

It said the Max aircraft will be powered by the fuel-efficient CFM LEAP B engine. “Providing the lowest seat-mile costs for a single-aisle airplane as well as high dispatch reliability and an enhanced passenger experience, the 737 Max is one of the strategic factors that will give Akasa Air a competitive edge in its dynamic home market,” the statement said.

The photographs, shared by the air carrier’s Twitter handle, come amid apprehensions that the launch of its services may get delayed. Some recent reports had said that Akasa Air is yet to receive its first aircraft and that may force the airline to defer the launch of its services.

The Mumbai-based airline, registered as SNV Aviation, received the mandatory no-objection certificate from the Union Civil Aviation Ministry in October.

The airline will now need to conduct a set of proving flights before it gets an Air Operator Certificate – the final regulatory approval to begin services.

Mr Jhunjhunwala has teamed up with Aditya Ghosh, former CEO of IndiGo, and Vinay Dube, former CEO of Jet Airways, to launch the carrier to tap into demand for domestic air travel.

Last year, Akasa Air placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX jets, valued at nearly $9 billion at list prices.

The air carrier is set to begin operations at a time when the country’s aviation industry is gradually recovering from the massive impact of the Covid pandemic.

The industry is also set to witness more competition as Jet Airways readies to take off again after a gap of nearly three years. The airline now plans to restart commercial flight operations in the July-September quarter this year.

Also, the Tata Group has taken over Air India and is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the carrier regains its lost glory.

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