Veteran investor and portfolio manager Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s Akasa Air has gotten approval from govt and is all set to take flight next year. There’s a little to no concrete information and figures regarding the airlines and yet, Akasa Air has been making a lot of buzz.
Rarely does it happen that an automobile or aviation startup which hasn’t seen the light of the day, starts making a name for itself. But given Jhunjhunwala’s bullish credibility and market image, anything touched by him is looked as gold.
The Indian aviation sector is once again going to go through a transformative phase. With Tata Group’s buyback of Air India from the government, and a new low-cost carrier backed by the biggest investor in India, the aviation sector looks promising. But there’s also a sense of foreboding in the air. The last time a business magnate introduced a high-on-efficiency, low-on-cost airline, it resulted in millions of people losing their jobs and the airline being shut.
The Facts of the Matter
As the news around Tata Group’s buyback of Air India settles, a new development is being looked by people keenly. Reportedly, billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s airline Akasa Air has received its no-objection-certificate from the Aviation Ministry. Further, the airline is scheduled to be taking its first flight in summer 2022.
“Will Continue to Work to Successfully Launch”
On October 11, Vinay Dubey, the CEO of Akasa Air released a statement which read, “We are extremely happy and grateful to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for their support 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.”
JUST IN: Akasa gets No Objection Certificate from @MoCA_GoI
— Arindam Majumder (@ari_maj) October 11, 2021
Ex-Indigo, Jet Airways Executives in Jhunjhunwala’s Akasa Air Team
For the unversed, Vinay Dubey is the former CEO of Jet Airways, one of the more successful attempts at a private airline in India. Before the company recorded loses after it had to lower its ticket fares to compete against IndiGo, the company was instrumental in Indian aviation. In 2019 however, it announced bankruptcy and decided to shut shop.
The Akasa Air will not only be managed by Vinay Dubey but also Aditya Ghosh – a well-known name in aviation world. Mr. Ghosh is credited for the success low-cost airline IndiGo had as he served as the Director till 2018. Under his leadership, IndiGo amassed a market cap of over Rs. 50 thousand crores and its fleets went to 450 aircrafts.
Akasa Air May Run Boeing 737 Fleet
For the record it still hasn’t been revealed what kind of aircrafts Akasa Air would have in its fleet. However, Reuters this year reported that the company can strike a deal with aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing and can have one of the largest deals with Boeing 737s.
What Happens After NOC?
After the NOC, an airline gets into the process of acquiring an Air Operator Permit (AOP) from the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation). The AOP is issued to an airline after the government and authorities remain satisfied that the operator has fulfilled the required compliances. This step also involves the airline carrier to hold multiple flights with DGCA officials.
As for how long it may take, it depends on multiple factors. For perspective, Vistara was announced in 2013 and received its aircraft the next year. The company received all the permits and started their operations in January 2015.
However, the current government focuses on helping potential high revenue earning businesses to start off smoothly. The journey for Akasa Air therefore, could take much lesser time than it did for Vistara.