NEW DELHI: The government has given a go ahead to billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed startup airline Akasa.
The aviation ministry has issued the vital no objection certificate (NOC) following which it will now apply for air operator permit from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The airline hopes to start flying next summer.
The proposed ultra low cost carrier (LCC), SNV Aviation Pvt Ltd that will fly under the brand name Akasa Air, is piloted by aviation veteran Vinay Dube who is its CEO.
Jhunjhunwala had recently met PM Modi in Delhi.
Delighted to meet the one and only Rakesh Jhunjhunwala…lively, insightful and very bullish on India. https://t.co/7XIINcT2Re
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 1633443985000
The airline is likely to place an order for about 100 Boeing 737 Max, with Airbus’ best selling A320 neo family of planes having a long waiting period for those placing orders now.
The DGCA has recently allowed modified B737 Max to fly in India.
In a statement, the upcoming airline said it “plans to offer flights across India starting in the summer of 2022 with an endeavour to be the nation’s most dependable, affordable and greenest airline.”
Vinay Dube said: “We are extremely happy and grateful to the aviation ministry for their support and for the grant of the NOC. We will continue to work with the regulatory authorities on all additional compliances required to successfully launch Akasa Air… we believe having a robust air transportation system is critical for our nation’s progress.”
“It is this belief that has motivated us to create a modern, efficient, quality conscious airline. Moreover, Akasa Air will serve all Indians regardless of their socio economic or cultural backgrounds with warmth, inclusiveness and respect. Because at the end of the day, it is these qualities that connect people and cultures and help Indians realise their dreams,” Dube, who has held top positions in Indian carriers like Jet Airways and GoAir, added.
Next year will be one of the most exciting times Indian aviation has seen in recent times with Air India and AI Express will then be flying as Tata Group airlines; Akasa would have taken birth and possibly Jet Airways 2.0 may have reincarnated.
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However these airline ventures will face strong headwinds — along with existing players, some of who are struggling to survive — due to rising oil prices; a weakening rupee-dollar and pandemic uncertainties.