Akasa, India’s newest airline, will conduct a proving flight with the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation as early as next week as it looks to begin commercial services by around the end of July, Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube told Friday.
Akasa, backed by billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, will likely receive its air operator’s certificate within days of the proving flight, apply for airport slots and start to sell tickets within two to three-week time, Dube told in an interview at the startup airline’s office in Mumbai.
The value carrier’s first routes will be domestic, with a focus on point-to-point services. International flights are on track to start in the second half of 2023, said Dube, a former Delta Air Lines Inc. veteran who also ran Jet Airways India Ltd.
Akasa air, whose other backers include Aditya Ghosh, the executive who spearheaded low-cost carrier IndiGo for almost a decade, has bold development plans, intent on adding 18 aircraft in the year ending March 2023. The first delivery from a November order for 72 Boeing Co. 737 Max jets, worth $9 billion at sticker prices, is in hand and Akasa should take delivery of one to two planes a month, Dube told.
- Korean Air Is Hiring Airbus A380 Pilots On 5 Year Contracts
- Asia-Pacific and the Middle East aviation recovers as domestic passenger traffic gathers pace
- Air India offers to re-hire retired pilots for a period of 5 years
Cracking India’s ultra-competitive aviation market won’t see Akasa compete on fares alone. While the airline prepares to be cost-competitive, having superior customer service and an employee-centric culture will also be critical to its long-term success, Dube stated.
“I don’t think India has excess supply — India will need 1,000 planes over the next 20 years. The pie is growing faster in India,” he said.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said
Indeed the country’s Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia told earlier this year that India may require to add as many as 120 jets every year to keep pace with need. The country is gearing up by building airports even in the smallest of cities, training more pilots and crew as well as improving maintenance facilities.
Akasa has a pilot training center of its own in Delhi and on top of cabin crew has hired more than 100 pilots in preparation for the beginning of commercial services.
Dube also told that with a fleet of new aircraft powered by CFM International Inc. fuel-efficient LEAP-1B engines, the airline has the youngest, greenest fleet in India, if not the world.
“Akasa will have 15 to 17% fuel efficiency by flying brand new planes with brand new engines,” he told. “Akasa will also get an edge on the cost of fuel owing to its working procedures and practices.”
Stay updated with Aviationa2z.com
Join our Telegram group for the latest updates