DALLAS — India’s youngest startup carrier, Akasa Air (QP), is planning to place a three-figure aircraft order by the end of this year. CEO Vinay Dubey said in a statement that they will start their international operations this year and are also looking to set up a learning facility in Bengaluru, India.
Akasa placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft worth US$9bn at the Dubai Airshow. So far, they have received 18 aircraft. The remaining 54 are yet to be delivered. Boeing will take close to five years to complete this order from the date of the order.
The airline is one of the fastest growing in India, with around 14 destinations. It employs 2,000 staff. If the plans go through, it will join the Indian aircraft order boom of 2023 and subsequent fleet growth, of which three-quarters have yet to be delivered according to CH-Aviation data.
The CEO stated in a press conference, “By the end of the year, we will place a large order for aircraft. I’m not going to disclose the number, but the order will be in three digits and it will be significant.”
However, Mr. Dube didn’t share the aircraft order details such as the aircraft type (Narrow body or wide bodies), from whom they will buy this aircraft (manufacturer), and deal value (number of aircraft and its worth).
The CEO also added that they will hire 300 pilots, adding that they will be trained on the latest generation of aircraft. “We have the aircraft of the latest generation. We are also offering our employees the skill sets of the future, which is also very exciting.”
As cited by The Economic Times, Mr. Dube also stated that they will need a minimum of 3,500 pilots to operate a huge fleet in the coming decade. While emphasizing pilot licenses he added that in the past four years, 3,200 pilots have applied for licenses and many of them are yet to get employment as they have not been accommodated yet.
The airline’s chief commercial officer, Praveen Iyer, said while commenting on the international network that the routes are still under evaluation but will be projected by the end of this year.
The company is headquartered in Mumbai but has a large base in Bengaluru, where QP is going to establish a learning academy to train its employees. “We haven’t made the announcements as of yet, but give us a little while. It’s going to be a big base here,” commented the CEO.
When asked about whether the learning center will be limited to only pilots, Mr. Dube replied that “it’s not just for pilots, it’s also for the cabin crew, airline staff, maintenance personnel, and people steering the organization. There will also be leadership training for individuals at the administration level.”
The CEO noted that Delhi will remain its main training hub, with Bengaluru serving as a satellite center. He also said that the fleet they operate is one of the most fuel-efficient and quite modern in the globe.
The QP has already completed six months of operation as its inaugural flight took off on August 7, 2022. The CEO claims that they are the fastest-growing airline in the country.
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Feature Image: VT-YAD Akasa Air Boeing 737-8 MAX. Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways