Newest Indian Carrier’s Aircraft is Ready

Akasa Air releases the first pictures of its first Boeing 737 MAX

Issue: 3 / 2022By Ayushee Chaudhary

Akasa Air, India’s newest airline released the “first look” photographs of its aircraft from Boeing production facility in Portland as it gets ready for delivery. The aircraft, Boeing 737 MAX, is expected to be delivered in India by mid-June to the airlines which plans to launch its commercial operations by July 2022.

Just about a week prior to releasing photographs, the airline had also revealed its carrier code, “QP”. International Air Transport Association (IATA) codes are an integral part of the travel industry and essential for the identification of an airline, its destinations and its traffic documents. They are also fundamental to the smooth running of hundreds of electronic applications which have been built around these coding systems for passenger and cargo traffic purposes. Those companies assigned an IATA Airline Designator Code are to use such designators for reservations, schedules, timetables, telecommunications, ticketing, cargo documentation, legal, tariffs and/or other commercial/traffic purposes.

Akasa Air took to twitter and stated, “Quite Proud to announce our airline code - QP!”

The airline had pronounced lately about its commitment of being on track to receive its first aircraft in the country next month and launch commercial operations eventually. Akasa Air plans to fly 18 aircraft by the end of March 2023 across domestic routes in the country, focusing on metro to tier-2/tier-3 cities. The low-cost airline will operate a fleet of ultra-modern, brand new 737 MAX aircraft powered by highly fuel-efficient CFM LEAP B engine, making it the youngest and greenest fleet in the country. “Providing the lowest seatmile costs for a single-aisle airplane as well as high dispatch reliability and an enhanced passenger experience, the 737 MAX is one of the strategic factors that will give Akasa Air a competitive edge in its dynamic home market,” the official statement from the airline read.

In November last year, Akasa Air had ordered 72 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes to build its fleet and launch service in the Indian market. The order, valued at nearly $9 billion, included 737-8 and high-capacity 737-8-200. Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube had stated at the time, “We believe that the new 737 MAX airplane will support our aim of running not just a costefficient, reliable and affordable airline, but also an environmentally friendly company with the youngest and greenest fleet in the Indian skies.”

Akasa had received the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) last year in October. The airline is being launched under the Akasa Air brand by SNV Aviation, the aviation venture backed by stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. The NOC will thus be retained by SNV Aviation, the holding company for the proposed airline. On October 11, the press release stated, “SNV Aviation Private Limited, that will fly under the brand name Akasa Air, announced that it has received a no objection certificate from the MoCA as it embarks on its journey to offer Indian flyers a warm, efficient, reliable and affordable travel experience.”

The airline’s tagline ‘it’s your sky’ is symbolic of the aim that the carrier has. It envisions to create an inclusive environment for all Indian flyers irrespective of their socialeconomic backgrounds. The prices of the airline are expected to be very reasonable. However, given the post COVID-19 environment and the rising ATF prices, how will the new carrier operate and what will it offer, would be interesting to witness.

After the aircraft arrives, the airline has to perform a set of flights for proof so as to receive an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) - the final regulatory approval to begin services. The company is joining Jet Airways, that went bankrupt and had to halt operations in 2019, to fill the Indian skies in H2 2022.

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, is said to have a 40 per cent stake in the company. Other aviation industry veterans including former Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube and former IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh are joining him in operating the airline. Dube is the CEO of Akasa Air and Ghosh is expected to join as Jhunjhunwala’s nominee.

Akasa Air believes that India’s growing economy and expanding population will fuel strong demand for commercial flights, driving the need for an estimated 1000 new airplanes in India over the next 20 years.