Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Seattle on Thursday. The newest player in the Indian aviation sector intends to operate a fleet of 72 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, which are to be delivered over the course of five years.

Akasa Air is scheduled to receive 18 aircraft from Boeing by March 2023, followed by delivery of the remaining 54 aircraft over the course of next four years.

“This is indeed a symbolic milestone in the journey of Akasa Air, bringing us one step closer to the process of obtaining our air operator’s permit (AOP) and leading to our commercial launch. While we are extremely happy with this achievement, we want to keep ourselves focussed on the task of delivering on our vision to transform India’s air transportation ecosystem, support the nation’s economic growth engine and help fellow Indians chase their dreams,” says Vinay Dube, managing director and chief executive officer of Akasa Air.

With the first aircraft in its possession, Akasa can soon begin proving flights, mandatory to secure air operator’s permit from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). This permit is an approval granted by the civil aviation regulator to an airline for using its aircraft for commercial purposes, showing that the operator has in place its personnel, aircraft, assets and systems to ensure the safety of its passengers and employees.

“We are honored to deliver the first 737 MAX to Akasa Air, India’s newest airline focused on making air travel inclusive and affordable for all,” said Stan Deal, commercial airplanes president and CEO at Boeing. “Flying an advanced, environmentally progressive 737 MAX fleet with greater fuel efficiency and lower operating costs will enable Akasa Air to profitably serve the Indian market while passing those savings on to its passengers.”

“We are grateful to Boeing and Griffin for their trust in us and supporting us early in our journey. I, along with our team, are looking forward to receiving our first aircraft in Delhi early next week as it arrives from Seattle,” Dube says.

On June 9, Dublin-based Griffin Global Asset Management had announced the mandate for purchase and leaseback of five Boeing 737-8 aircraft with Akasa Air. Griffin’s team of aviation professionals works with airlines, OEMs and financiers to deliver customised fleet solutions and innovative financing products to airlines globally.

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