According to Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube, the newest airline in India, Akasa, plans to launch its commercial operations by the end of July and will conduct a proving flight with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of the nation as soon as next week.
In an interview at the startup airline’s office in Mumbai, Dube said that Akasa, funded by billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, will likely acquire its air operator’s certificate within days of the proving flight, apply for airport slots, and begin selling tickets within two to three weeks.
The domestic value carrier’s initial routes will concentrate on point-to-point services. According to Dube, a former executive at Delta Air Lines Inc. who once led Jet Airways India Ltd., international flights are expected to begin in the second half of 2023.
“We don’t believe in the hub concept. Akasa’s network will be focusing on flights from Indian metro cities to tier two and tier three cities,” Dube said.
Aditya Ghosh, the executive who oversaw low-cost carrier IndiGo for nearly 10 years, is one of Akasa’s other backers. Akasa has ambitious growth goals, with the goal of acquiring 18 aircraft in the fiscal year that ends in March 2023. According to Dube, Asaka should get one to two planes a month from an order placed in November for 72 Boeing Co. 737 Max jets valued at $9 billion at list prices.
Akasa will not only compete on prices in India’s fiercely competitive aviation business. While the airline intends to be cost-competitive, Dube stated that having excellent customer service and an employee-centric culture will also be important to its long-term success.
“I don’t think India has excess supply — India will need 1,000 planes over the next 20 years. The pie is growing faster in India,” he stated.
In fact, India’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya Scindia, stated earlier this year that the country may need to add as many as 120 jets per year to keep up with demand. The nation is preparing by expanding airports, even in the tiniest places, hiring more pilots and crew, and upgrading maintenance facilities.
In advance of the launch of its commercial flights, Asaka has employed more than 100 pilots in addition to cabin staff at its own pilot training facility in Delhi.
Dube said that the airline has the newest and greenest fleet in India, if not the entire globe, thanks to its fleet of brand-new aircraft powered by LEAP-1B engines from CFM International Inc.
He claimed that by using brand-new planes and engines, Akasa would have a fuel efficiency of 15 to 17%. “Due to its operating procedures and practises, Akasa will also have a competitive advantage on the cost of fuel.”