Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed new airline Akasa Air has ordered 72 '737 Max' aircraft from US-based aerospace company Boeing to launch service in India, a statement said on Tuesday.
The order has been valued at nearly $9 billion at list prices. The order includes two variants from the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200
The airline’s co-founder Aditya Ghosh, Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube, Chief Commercial Officer Praveen Iyer were present at the signing of the order deal at the Dubai Air Show.
“Providing the lowest seat-mile costs for a single-aisle airplane as well as high dispatch reliability and an enhanced passenger experience, the 737 MAX will ensure Akasa Air has a competitive edge in its dynamic home market,” Boeing said in a statement.
CNBC-TV18 had exclusively reported last month that Akasa Air is expected to finalise the aircraft order by November.
“We believe that the new 737 MAX airplane will support our aim of running not just a cost-efficient, reliable and affordable airline, but also an environmentally friendly company with the youngest and greenest fleet in the Indian skies,” Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube said.
“India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential. We are already witnessing a strong recovery in air travel, and we see decades of growth ahead of us. Akasa Air's core purpose is to help power India's growth engine and democratize air travel by creating an inclusive environment for all Indians regardless of their socio-economic or cultural backgrounds,” Dube added.
The 737 MAX family promises reduction in fuel use and carbon emissions by at least 14 percent compared to airplanes it replaces.
Low-cost carrier SpiceJet also operates MAX aircraft with 13 such aircraft in its fleet and a total order-book of 205 such planes including 50 options.
The MAX aircraft was banned worldwide in March 2019 after two fatal accidents involving the aircraft type. After two-and-a-half years of grounding, the aircraft has now been permitted to resume operations with DGCA nod received in August 2021.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation had last month given a no-objection certificate (NOC) for the operation of Akasa Air in India.