Akasa Air Gains Operator’s Certificate, Set To Launch

Credit: Boeing via Akasa Air

Mumbai-based Akasa Air has been granted an air operator’s certificate (AOC) from the Indian government, clearing the way for the startup to begin operations later this month.

Akasa will operate as an LCC with a single fleet type, the Boeing 737 MAX, which will be configured in a single class. The airline is planning to operate domestically this year with an eye toward international expansion in 2023. Routes will be focused on connecting secondary cities with major hubs.

The carrier took delivery of its first 737 MAX in June and said it will start operations by the end of July with two 737 MAX aircraft.

Akasa has not yet announced specific routes, but founder and CEO Vinay Dube has previously talked about Bengaluru (BLR), Delhi (DEL) and Mumbai (BOM) as potential primary cities for the new airline.

Dube has said the aim of the LCC is to offer low fares to open up air service to more of India’s population. When the airline announced its choice of the 737 MAX as its aircraft at the November 2021 Dubai Airshow, he said Akasa sought to “democratize air travel by creating an inclusive environment for all Indians regardless of their socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds.”

Commenting July 7 on the awarding of the AOC, Dube said: “We now look forward to opening our flights for sale, leading to the start of commercial operations by late July. This will begin our journey towards building India’s greenest, most dependable and most affordable airline.”

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Akasa will operate under the code QP. Through March 2023, the airline is scheduled to receive 18 total 737 MAX aircraft. Akasa will then take delivery of 12-14 MAX aircraft every 12 months from April 2023, and plans to have received all 72 of the type it has on order by 2027.

News of Akasa’s AOC comes two months after the revived Jet Airways was granted an AOC. Jet Airways also plans to operate as an LCC in a crowded Indian airline market that will have more than a dozen carriers after Akasa and Jet Airways take to the skies. Jet Airways is planning a service launch by the end of September.

IndiGo leads the market with a 55.3% capacity share of all seats within the country during May 2022.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.