Akasa Air's Major Expansion: 150 Boeing 737 MAX Planes Order on the Horizon

Akasa Air, a budget airline based in India, is reportedly close to finalizing an order for approximately 150 Boeing 737 MAX planes, according to two sources familiar with the negotiations. The airline is seeking to take advantage of the booming travel industry in India. The two sources, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that the deal is expected to be announced at Wings India, the country's largest civil aviation event, scheduled for January 18-21. Boeing declined to comment, while an Akasa spokesperson stated that the airline does not respond to rumors. The sources also said that the airline is already committed to purchasing 76 Boeing 737 MAX planes, meaning that this new order will bring their total to approximately 226 planes. 


Akasa is India's newest airline, having started flying in 2022, and has gained a 4% market share since then, compared to IndiGo's 60% and the Tata Group's combined 26%. The company's Chief Commercial Officer, Praveen Iyer, stated in December that Akasa would be announcing a three-digit aircraft order in early 2024, but did not provide any further information. One of the sources stated that the new order for approximately 150 planes is likely to include some future purchasing options. 


Currently, Akasa only operates domestically with a fleet of around two dozen planes. Last year, the airline was negatively impacted by the sudden departure of about 10% of its pilots, which resulted in a loss of market share. However, the company has stated that the issue has been resolved. The sources stated that Akasa's new plane order is intended to fuel its domestic and international expansion, with the narrowbody Boeing planes being equipped to fly to nearby foreign destinations such as Southeast Asia and the Middle East from India. 


Indian airlines are attempting to keep up with the rapidly increasing demand for air travel, which has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 outbreak. This has resulted in industry records being broken, despite plane manufacturers struggling to meet production goals. IndiGo set a new record in June by ordering 500 Airbus narrowbody planes, surpassing Air India's purchase of 470 combined Airbus and Boeing planes earlier in the year. Boeing, which has been trailing behind Airbus in the fast-growing Indian market, will benefit from Akasa's order, as it already has other customers in India, including SpiceJet.

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