Akasa, the new no-frills airline, founded by many ex-Jet Airways management personnel, had intended to launch by mid-2022. Now it seems they are looking to delay their launch plans by a month, given delays in bringing their aircraft into India.
Akasa launch delayed
Akasa had everything going for it. The airline had committed to 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after the Indian regulator DGCA lifted the aircraft’s grounding orders. The airline had also launched its social media handles and unveiled the logo and the livery in late 2021. As late as March 2022, Akasa founder and CEO Vinay Dube mentioned at the Wings India 2022 event that the airline would launch by June 2022. The airline had already been hiring, and I know some folks employed at Akasa.
However, one piece of the puzzle was missing. No aircraft were sighted in Renton or at any storage sites for the 737 MAX aircraft bearing the Akasa livery or even the rudder painted before the plane got into the shop. Akasa, however, maintained their first aircraft delivery was going to happen in April 2022.
Over the weekend, Akasa’s founder Vinay Dube confirmed to MoneyControl, that the airline would push the launch by a month because of the delay in importing the first aircraft. Akasa intends to induct 18 aircraft into the fleet by March 2023 and have the entire 72-aircraft delivered within five years.
Mr Dube did not give a new timeline of when the first aircraft is expected in India, but the airline will need to complete proving flights with the representatives of the Indian regulator DGCA on board before they will be able to receive their Air Operators Permit, a necessary condition for them to be able to start receiving slots.
Another interesting outcome of his discussion with MoneyControl was that the first twenty aircraft were white-tails or Not Taken Up aircraft. So essentially, these aircraft were manufactured by Boeing for other customers of the 737 MAX, who might have either folded up themselves or have refused to take their plane after the long delay in the recertification of the 737 MAX due to the grounding.
Airlines usually can cancel an aircraft order if it is not delivered up to 12 months after the originally agreed date for the aircraft delivery. SpiceJet, for instance, has refused to take up many aircraft that were initially assembled for them, and these are heading to Southwest now. During the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing continued to build the plane and, at a point in time, had over 100 aircraft stored across the USA.
Akasa is one of the two airlines that will enter Indian airspace in 2022 and is being looked at with a lot of expectation, especially as it intends to provide some sort of a better than the usual LCC experience. The airline has 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on order, and the first one was supposed to be delivered in April 2022. However, there is some delay, which will cause the airline to launch in July 2022 instead of June 2022.
What do you expect of Akasa Air when it is launched?
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