Akasa, the airline founded by Vinay Dube and other ex-Jet Airways management team members, launched its operations in August 2022. The airline had placed an initial order for aircraft in November 2021 at the Dubai Airshow, ordering 72 aircraft in a split of the 186-seater and the higher density 197-seater version of the 737-8 aircraft.
Akasa completes induction of the first 18 aircraft.
At the time of launch, Akasa announced that they would induct 18 aircraft by March 2023, and they did. The airline started with the launch of operations with aircraft which were not-taken-up by other airlines, configured to the product and experience that was envisioned for Akasa. However, due to the global supply chain shortage, it had to change its path and start inducting Jet Airways-ntu airframes in the as-is state. Consequently, you will see a big seat upfront for about half the fleet of Akasa at the moment. Here is a review of the Akasa A++ cabin.
That decision did pace up deliveries for Akasa Air, and now Akasa has inducted 18 aircraft ahead of schedule, finishing up the task by February 28, 2023. Of course, we can debate if by March 2023 meant before the start of the month or before the end of March 2023, but this is a good timeline for inducting 18 aircraft and perhaps the fastest scale-up of any airline in India. From here on, the airline will be inducting the 737-8-200 variant, which will mostly be produced afresh for the airline (the first 737-8-200 aircraft, though it is a ntu aircraft that was initially designated for VietJet).
Akasa is comprehending another aircraft order, per CEO
Akasa is currently operating more than 700 weekly flights across 14 domestic destinations, including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Cochin, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Agartala, Goa, Vizag, Pune, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Varanasi across 23 unique routes, and has already flown over a million passengers.
Akasa CEO Vinay Dube, at a press conference in Bengaluru on March 1, 2023, mentioned that the airline is considering another aircraft order, which will be in triple digits (100 or more aircraft). The airline has to start talking about these orders already, given there is a 3,600 aircraft backlog for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. They will have to plan and order now to secure slots for 2027 and onwards, although Akasa may only order these aircraft at the Dubai Airshow again, in keeping with past rituals for them.
Akasa will fly abroad by the end of 2023
At the same press conference, Praveen Iyer, the Chief Commercial Officer for Akasa and a co-founder, told the media that Akasa intends to fly internationally by the end of 2023. Current Indian regulations dictate that an airline should have 20 aircraft to be able to fly abroad. Given that Akasa is within striking distance of the number of aircraft, it should be no surprise for the Indian aviation industry.
Akasa will expand training facilities in Bengaluru.
Akasa has strategically made Bengaluru a home for the airline, parking most of their aircraft at BLR for overnight parking. The airline has now also decided to open a learning centre in Bengaluru, which will become its second learning centre after Gurugram.
The moves by Akasa are all in the right direction and indicative of the (still) pent-up demand for Indian aviation. The airline will order more aircraft by the end of 2023 and launch international operations in 2023. Not just that, Bengaluru will get a learning centre for Akasa as well.
What do you think of the incredible growth of Akasa in 200 days or so?
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