Indian start-up Akasa Air shows off first Boeing 737 MAX ahead of summer launch

Indian start-up carrier Akasa Air has unveiled pictures of its first Boeing 737 MAX ahead of its summer 2022 launch.

Akasa, which has ordered 72 of the MAX, showed off pictures of the jet in its distinctive orange and purple livery via social media. The aircraft, registration VT-YAA, can be seen standing in a hangar. 

The ultra-low-cost carrier, backed by Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, hopes to launch operations in July. It has been given the QP designator for its flights. However, it does not yet have its air operator certificate (AOC).  

In an interview with CNBC-TV18 on May 5, managing director and CEO Vinay Dube said Akasa needed the first aircraft to be delivered before it could get the AOC. The delivery is scheduled for mid-June. 

“We anticipate getting that [the AOC] in late June, and on the basis of that we will start operations in late July,” Dube told the broadcaster.  

Akasa expects to take delivery of 18 aircraft between mid-June and the end of the fiscal year, equivalent to two per month, Dube said. In India, the fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.  

It will take five years before Akasa receives delivery of all 72 737 MAX it has on order, Dube said, with deliveries to average around 12-14 per year. 

2022 is seeing the relaunch or start of several carriers in India. Jet Airways, which collapsed in 2019, has just received its AOC and hopes to start flying in the third quarter of 2022, while Air India has named Scoot boss Campbell Wilson as its new CEO as part of its fresh start under new owners Tata Sons. Meanwhile, IndiGo has named ex-KLM chief Pieter Elbers as its new CEO.

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