India’s newest carrier, Akasa Air, announced on Tuesday the addition of the 20th jet to its fleet, ushering it into the league of international airlines in India.
Airlines must possess a minimum of 20 aircraft in their fleet to meet the requirements for conducting international operations.
“Bearing the registration VT YAV, the airline received the ceremonial keys to the milestone aircraft in Seattle, USA on July 28, 2023, and the aircraft arrived in Bengaluru at 0931 hrs today,” the company said in a statement.
With this, Akasa Air has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first airline in Asia to include the 737-8-200 variant of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet.
In a recent interview, the company had expressed its intentions to explore the possibility of expanding its network to include destinations in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and other parts of South Asia, such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The company also plans to maintain a single-class configuration on these routes.
"Today’s landmark addition to our fleet, heralds the international chapter of growth in Akasa’s story, and makes us extremely optimistic about our future. We are very excited at the prospect of showcasing our unique and distinct service to the world," said Vinay Dube, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Akasa Air.
Akasa Air was launched in August last year. In June, the airline captured a market share of 4.9 percent by flying 6.18 lakh passengers.
The airline has been steadily expanding its fleet with orders for 76 Boeing aircraft, and recently placed an additional order for four more planes from Boeing.
Some domestic carriers have seen an increase in market share due to the grounding of the cash-strapped Go First, which ceased operations on May 3.
“I am particularly gratified in the way our airline has grown. The unprecedented pace of our expansion is fuelled by the passion of our employees, who strive to make air travel increasingly accessible and reliable,” said the Akasa Air CEO.
"The carrier has recorded the highest on-time performance for several consecutive months in 2023 and this milestone was achieved without compromising on our unflinching commitment to service leadership," added Dube.
"I think we are adequately funded. We were adequately funded to order 72 aircraft. We are adequately funded to add 4 more aircraft on top of that were adequately funded to place another three-digit aircraft order between now and the end of this year," the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Akasa Air said.
As Akasa prepares to commence its international services, the company aims to hire up to 800 new workers by the end of this fiscal year.
This move comes in line with the expansion plans of other major airlines in India.
Market leader Interglobe Aviation operated IndiGo and Tata-owned Air India are also actively ramping up their hiring efforts, with plans to recruit thousands more staff.
Both airlines have placed substantial orders for hundreds of aircraft from Airbus SE and Boeing Co., reflecting their commitment to future growth and development in the aviation industry.
Boeing senior vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing Brad McMullen said, “This milestone symbolizes the strength of our partnership with Akasa, as they take delivery of the first 737-8-200 in the Asia region."
“The 737-8-200 offers a balance of airline economics and unparalleled customer experience that is a perfect fit for Akasa and allows the airline to deliver on its promise of service excellence,” he added.