Boeing 737 Max aircraft
The order is seen as a “key endorsement” of the 737 family’s capability to serve the rapidly growing Indian market. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: India’s newest airline Akasa Air has placed a near $9 billion order with Boeing for 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to build its fleet. The order is seen as a “key endorsement” of the 737 family’s capability to serve the rapidly growing Indian market.

At the 2021 Dubai Air Show, Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube said, “We are delighted to partner with Boeing for our first airplane order. We believe that the new 737 MAX airplane will support our aim of running not just a cost-efficient, reliable and affordable airline, but also an environmentally-friendly company with the youngest and greenest fleet in the Indian skies.”

Akasa Air’s order includes two variants from the 737 MAX family, the 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200. Providing the lowest seat-mile costs for a single-aisle airplane, the 737 MAX will ensure Akasa Air has a “competitive edge in its dynamic home market”.

“India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential,” said Dube. “We are already witnessing a strong recovery in air travel, and we see decades of growth ahead of us. Akasa Air's core purpose is to help power India's growth engine and democratize air travel by creating an inclusive environment for all Indians regardless of their socio-economic or cultural backgrounds.”

India’s growing economy and expanding middle-class will fuel strong demand for commercial flights, creating a need for more than 2,200 new airplanes in South Asia valued at nearly $320 billion over the next 20 years. That’s according to Boeing’s 2021 Commercial Market Outlook forecast.

According to Stan Deal, Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, “The 737 MAX, with its optimized performance, flexibility and capability, is the perfect airplane to establish Akasa Air in the Indian market and ensure it effectively grows its network.”

Akasa Air
Akasa Air, backed by Indian billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, plans to offer flights across India starting in the summer of 2022.

India's domestic aviation industry is returning to normal after state-wide restrictions were lifted. Airlines are struggling in international markets with India yet to resume normal scheduled flights.

India is moving towards the resumption of scheduled flights, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said last week at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“We are moving towards resumption of scheduled flights… The move to normalcy is progressing,” he said while addressing the media at India Pavilion at Expo.