Seeking to further democratize air travel with responsible and affordable services, airline Akasa Air is aiming to begin flights in late May or early June after getting its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in April.
Civil aviation sector
Bullish on the long-term increase potential of the country’s civil aviation sector, ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed carrier is looking to have 18 planes in its fleet by the end of March 2023.
Despite COVID clouds continuing to cast a shadow on the airlines, Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube is more than 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”.
Interacting with PTI on a video call, Dube told us the Indian aviation pie is increasing and the idea of Akasa Air is to look through what we are presently facing. “This is temporary. This too shall pass”.
The civil aviation space, especially the airlines, has been significantly affected by the pandemic, and the emergence of the Omicron, variant has dealt another blow to the recovery path of the sector.
Akasa Air, which will take off as a low-cost carrier, has set an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX planes, which are fuel-efficient.
To start with, Akasa Air 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 carried near the system, Dube noted.
Being professionally managed, competitive cost structure, customer satisfaction, employees being happy and airline being financially healthy will be among the key elements for Akasa Air.
“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 operating with the government, DGCA to go through all of the needs that are there,” Dube told.
Dube, who is also the Founder and Managing Director, told the airline has begun hiring staff, setting up technology, developing processes and procedures, defining things related to customer value and proposition, and preparing route networks with airports. Now, the carrier has more than 50 staff.
“Part of the reason we are bullish about aviation is that rare people have historically flown in India compared to most Western economies. All of that is moving to change in the coming years and we want to be part of that shift. We want to allow that change and continue to democratize air travel,” Dube told.
“Boeing 737 MAX
And international services are very much part of Akasa Air’s plans. Dube told the airline targets to start overseas flights in the second half of the calendar year 2023 once there are 20 planes in its fleet.
Under Indian regulations, a domestic airline should have at least 20 aircraft in its fleet before it can commence international flights.” Boeing 737 MAX gives us a good range We can fly to SouthEast Asia, SAARC countries, the Middle East… That is our intention,” he told.
- Last year, Akasa Air, a brand of SNV Aviation, placed an order for 737 MAX planes with Boeing. The order was valued at almost USD 9 billion at list costs and includes 737-8 and high-capacity 737-8-200 aircraft.
On what will be the selling offer for the airline, he told, “you got to be dependable” and in his words, the part of technology and analytics will be massive.
- Istanbul Airport closed due to heavy snowfall in Turkey
- Air India’s to be handovered to the Tata group by end of January
- The UN’s aviation (ICAO) is not convinced by Belarusian authorities
“… whether it is fuel, leasing, people, airports, maintenance, for all of them, technology, data, analytics can move the needle 1-2 percent to 5-10 percent for each of these cost elements. For us, that is very very significant. It is moving to recreate a massive,” he told.
Further, he stated that data and analytics are not just linked to cost structure but are also quite important even for customer service offerings, commercial aspects, revenue generation aspects.
“… we are moving to make sure queue times are low, good sort of customer experience… reliability, warmth, and affordability from the customers’ perspective,” he said.
Stay updated with Aviationa2z.com