Akasa Air starts flying: ‘Normally a child is born in nine months. We took 12 months to launch an airline’

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NEW DELHI: Billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed budget airline Akasa Air took to the skies on Sunday with its launch flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.
Indian aviation industry veteran Vinay Dube, who has headed erstwhile Jet Airways and GoAir in the past, had thought of starting an airline during the pandemic after which he reached out to Jhunjhunwala.
Commending the speed at which the airline was given clearances and the Modi government’s ease of doing business, Jhunjhunwala in his inimitable style said at the Sunday Mumbai Airport launch ceremony: “Nowhere in the world is an airline conceived and born in 12 months. Normally a child is born in nine months. We took 12 months. (It is said) ‘India has a very, very bad bureaucracy’. But the cooperation we have got from the aviation ministry is unbelievable.”
Akasa founder and CEO Vinay Dube said: “It is wonderful to continue to democratise air travel. This is the first time in about eight years that we have a new Indian-registered livery on a jet aircraft. After a very very long time we have a professionally-run, professionally-owned airline. We live in an India where career professionals like myself and a number of our fellow founders can actually dream of starting an airline in a high emulated and capital-intensive sector.” Union aviation minister J M Scindia flagged off the first flight.
Akasa Air is starting with flights between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. It will add cities and routes to its network as the fleet size grows. Akasa has so far announced five routes along five cities, including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Bengaluru and Chennai.
The airline plans to add two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft each month. It is looking to establish a strong pan-India presence, with a focus on metro to tier 2 and 3 route connectivity. The fleet size will be raised to 18 aircraft by the end of March 2023 and over the next four years, the airline will add 54 aircraft, taking its total fleet size to 72.


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