Akasa, the airline promoted by ex-Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube, and invested in by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, has moved the needle from being a concept to developing further in the past months. The airline has been assembling its core team of people at a rapid clip, mainly drawing from the ranks of earlier – Jet Airways.
Before the airline can start moving forward with applying for an Air Operator Permit (AOP), one of the critical steps is for the airline to receive a No Objection Certificate from the Ministry of Civil Aviation in the Government of India. This is now done, as per a statement issued by the company. On the occasion, Vinay Dube said,
We are extremely happy and grateful to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for their support and for the grant of the NOC. We will continue to work with the regulatory authorities on all additional compliances required to successfully launch Akasa Air.
From here on, the airline will now apply to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for the AOP and, after receiving the certificate, will need about six months to launch. Akasa’s statement said it intends to launch in Summer 2022 now, which could mean anytime from April 2022 onwards.
Further, the airline still does not have an order in place for aircraft. At first, it seemed like a Boeing 737 MAX fleet was the done deal, given the easier and quicker availability of pilots and planes which was expected (ex-Jet Airways pilots and SpiceJet pilots who may be looking to move), and Boeing hardly has any narrowbody clients in India apart from SpiceJet. Now, per media reports, Akasa is at least talking to Airbus about a potential order. Of course, it is customary that both the big OEMs usually speak to the airlines, including startup ones, and try and find their way in. I would expect that any order announcement could be coming with a month to go to the Dubai Airshow 2021.
Akasa, which intends to be a ULCC carrier, has received its NOC from the Government of India and now expects to launch in mid-2022. The next steps for the airline will be to obtain an AOP, after which it needs to launch within a certain period after receiving initial aircraft, completing proving flights and finishing up a safety manual, etc.
What do you think will be the choice of aircraft for Akasa? Boeing 737 MAX? Airbus A320neo? Airbus 22o? Embraer E2s?
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