Boeing Bounces Back In India With Akasa 737 MAX Order

Vinay Dube, Akasa Air CEO, and Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, sign the deal on Nov. 16 at Dubai Airshow 2021.
Credit: Boeing

DUBAI—Indian start-up carrier Akasa Air has ordered 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the Dubai Airshow, marking a significant win for the manufacturer in an area of the single-aisle market currently heavily dominated by Airbus.

The deal, which is valued at around $9 billion and includes the 737-8 and the higher capacity 737-8200, “speaks to the capacity these aircraft provide to the low-cost market in India,” said Darren Hulst, vice president of commercial marketing for Boeing.

The order is also a confidence booster for the MAX model following its return to service in early 2021 after accidents in 2019 and 2020 that led to its 18-month grounding. The aircraft was cleared to resume commercial operations by India's air safety regulator in August.

Akasa plans to begin operations in 2022 and will face tough competition from incumbent LCCs like Indigo. Boeing says “there is room in that market and Akasa is going to be a great partner going forward. With COVID largely in the rearview mirror there’s going to be big demand from the Indian market.”

Akasa, which is part of the SNV Aviation group and backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, negotiated the order as it recently received clearance from the civil aviation ministry to launch the country's latest ULCC.

The orders are new additions to Boeing’s backlog rather than re-marketed white tails. Boeing hopes the agreement will mark the start of more orders for the South Asian market, which it predicts will require more than 2,200 new aircraft over the next 20 years.

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.


1 Comment
Curious. The order for 72 737 Max-8 aircraft comes from an airline (Akasa) which is so new that it does not even have a livery (paint scheme) on its website. Hence the generic Boeing image behind the people signing the contract. It would be hard to characterize this as a "significant win" for Boeing.