Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air has launched 72 Boeing 737 . signed a $9 billion deal for

Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air has launched 72 Boeing 737 . signed a $9 billion deal for

Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air has placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX planes ahead of their planned launch next summer.

The deal for 72 aircraft worth $9 billion at list price was signed on Tuesday at the Dubai Air Show. Typically, however, airlines receive great discounts from original equipment manufacturers when placing orders.

The order is on hand for the US aircraft maker and will help bridge the gap with Airbus, which has over 80 per cent stake in India’s narrow-body fleet. Airbus has orders for over 550 A320Neos from IndiGo alone and its delivery pipeline for the narrow-bodied aircraft is full by 2024.

Akasa Air’s order includes two variants of the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 and the higher-capacity 737-8-200. The 737 MAX was cleared for operation by the Indian civil aviation regulator in August after a two-year ban.

While the joint announcement did not give details, sources indicated that the airline may start receiving its aircraft from April. As per initial plans, Akasa Air, which will operate with a low-cost model, plans to induct 20 aircraft a year. It is likely to have bases in Bengaluru and Delhi. The airline is in discussions with lessors and is expected to sell and lease back the aircraft to finance the acquisition.

“India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential. We are already seeing a strong improvement in air travel, and we see decades of growth ahead of us. The core objective of Akasa Air Democratize air travel by creating an inclusive environment for all Indians, regardless of socio-economic or cultural background, said Vinay Dubey, the airline’s chief executive officer.

The airline had received a no-objection certificate from the civil aviation ministry last month. Akasa Air has been promoted by Dubey who was earlier the CEO of Jet Airways. Former IndiGo chairman Aditya Ghosh is also one of the founders of the airline, having made investments from Jhunjhunwala and Madhav Bhatkuli of New Horizons Investment Fund.

Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said, “The 737 MAX, with its optimized performance, flexibility and capability, is the perfect airplane to establish Akasa Air in the Indian market and ensure it continues to expand its network. develop effectively.

“Providing the lowest seat-mile cost for single-aisle airplanes as well as high dispatch reliability and an enhanced passenger experience, the 737 MAX will ensure that Akasa Air has a competitive edge in its dynamic domestic market,” the companies said. be achieved.”

“The Akasa Air order is very important for Boeing and brings them back to the narrow body market in India. Post the COVID-19 pandemic we see OEMs focusing on strong and long-term players,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia CEO, aviation consultancy CAPA.

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