India’s aviation sector will soon have a new player in the skies — Akasa Air, backed by veteran investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is all set to make its debut. The airline says it has received all regulatory approvals barring the air operator permit.
It has placed orders for 72 Boeing 737 Max planes and also expects to receive the first aircraft delivery by early June.
Akasa Air hopes to start commercial operations in July this year. To know more about the airline’s debut plans, pilot and crew hiring, as well as the routes it wants to service, some news channel spoke to Vinay Dube, Founder, MD and CEO of Akasa Air.
Dube said, “We expect our first aircraft to be delivered in mid-June and expect commercial operations in in late July. We are very, very pleased with the progress that we have made, and are on track.”
As for the air operator’s permit, Dube said, “We need to get the delivery of our first aircraft before we get the air operator’s permit. It is a very rigorous process and we anticipate getting that in late June and will then, on the basis of that, start operations in late July.”
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Dube said they have 150 pilots and 120 flight attendants on board. “We have over 150 employees now, with another 150 set to join. We have 150 pilots that have accepted our offer, (and) maybe close to 120 flight attendants. So lots of activity on the people side. We feel very fortunate with the team we have built.”
On routes Dube said, “We think our wheelhouse is going to be from the metro cities to tier 2 cities. We are in the process of discussing with the individual airports as well as the Airports Authority of India, trying to finalise which airports have space for us as far as slots parking bays and other infrastructure that is required for us to launch is concerned; we hope to finalise these in the very near future.”