Akasa Air orders 150 Boeing MAX jets, eyes overseas operations
2 min read • Updated: January 18, 2024, 9:00 PM
The latest entrant in the world's fastest-growing aviation market looks to expand its operations beyond domestic routes.
Hyderabad, January 18: Akasa Air said on Thursday it has ordered 150 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes, as the latest entrant in the world's fastest-growing aviation market looks to expand its operations beyond domestic routes.
It is the first major order announcement for Boeing's troubled MAX jetliner programme since a mid-air cabin panel blowout in the U.S. early this month.
Further terms of the deal were not disclosed. Akasa expects the aircraft to be delivered within the next eight years.
The order was announced at the "Wings India" air show in the southern city of Hyderabad, which has attracted planemakers, airlines and government officials as they make the most of India's travel boom, with a greater focus on international routes.
Akasa's order for 737 MAX 10 and MAX 8-200 does not include the MAX 9 version, which has been largely grounded over the Alaska Airlines cabin panel blowout incident.
Indian airliners do not operate the 737 Max 9 aircraft.
Although India is now the world's fastest-growing aviation market, with travel demand outstripping the supply of planes, global carriers such as Emirates capture the bulk of international traffic.
Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said he expects the country's fleet size to surge to 2,000 in the next decade from about 700 currently.
At present, IndiGo, Air India and Akasa have orders pending for more than 1,500 planes, with multi-billion dollar deals announced last year.
Reuters was first to report the details of Akasa's order earlier this month.
Since it started flying in 2022, Akasa has garnered a market share of 4%, while bigger rival IndiGo has the largest share at 60% and Tata Group airlines have a combined 26%.
Akasa currently flies only domestically, with a fleet of around two dozen planes.
The carrier was hit last year by the abrupt departure of about a tenth of its pilots, and had warned it was flying less as a result, costing it market share. It has since said the issue is behind it.
(This story has been published from the Reuters news feed without major editorial change.)