It’s official: India has a new airline. The government granted Akasa Air its air operator certificate, without which the startup could not begin revenue flights, on Thursday, and allowing passenger service to begin later this month.
“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,” Akasa founder and CEO Vinay Dube said in a statement.
Dube, in an interview with Skift earlier in July, said the airline aimed to increase the number of Indians who fly — rather than take the train or buses — when they travel around the country, rather than capture marketshare from competitors, including market leader IndiGo and Tata-owned Air India. This strategy has proven very successful in other developing markets, for example, in Mexico where discounter Volaris has become the country’s largest airline with a business model focused on shifting bus riders to flyers.
Akasa will launch with two Boeing 737 Max aircraft, and plans to grow by one aircraft per month through the end of the 2023 fiscal year. The airline plans to operate 72 aircraft within five years.