Indian Aviation Race: Akasa Air to close order for 150 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes

Aksa Air airplanes deal: Contract negotiations are underway and the deal is expected to be announced at the Wings India event from January 18 to 21.

Budget carrier Akasa Air is set to close an order for about 150 Boeing 737 MAX narrow-body planes, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Contract negotiations are ongoing and the deal is expected to be announced at the Wings India event to be held on January 18-21. A spokesman for the airline said it does not comment on speculation.

Budget carrier Akasa is India’s newest airline and has a market share of four per cent since starting flights in 2022. IndiGo’s market share is 60 percent while the combined market share of Tata group airlines is 26 percent.

In June, Air India overcame the purchase of 470 joint jets from Airbus and Boeing, with IndiGo placing a record order of 500 Airbus (AIR.PA) narrowbody planes.

The Aksa order would be another win for Boeing, which is lagging behind Airbus in the fast-growing Indian market, where its other customers include SpiceJet (SPJT.NS).

Indian carriers are trying to keep pace with surging demand for air travel that has surged post-COVID, leading to a shortage in production slots, while aircraft makers struggle to meet output targets.

Last December, Aksa Air chief commercial officer Praveen Iyer told newspaper Business Line that the airline was planning to place a three-figure aircraft order as early as 2024.

Reuters said a future order for 150 aircraft could include options to purchase. The fleet of about two dozen aircraft flies on domestic routes alone.

Last year, the air carrier was hit by the sudden departure of about a tenth of its pilots and it warned that it was flying less due to their departure. According to the report, Akasa’s latest order seeks to accelerate its domestic and global expansion.

Akasa Air

The ordered narrow body Boeing aircraft can fly from India to nearby overseas destinations such as the Middle East and South East Asia.

Domestic air passenger traffic rose nine per cent to more than 1.27 crore in November, an official data released last month showed.

But IndiGo’s market share declined to 61.8 percent in November from 62.6 percent in October, although it remained the country’s largest domestic carrier.

However, in November no scheduled carrier had an on-time performance (OTP) score above 80%.

On Friday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) released official data showing that airlines flew 1.27 crore passengers in November, compared to 1.17 crore a year earlier.

Sources : Reuters

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