Rakesh Jhunjhunwala backed Akasa Air well capitalised to induct 72 aircraft over the next 5 yrs, says founder CEO Vinay Dube
Mumbai: India's youngest airline, Akasa Air, which hit the skies days before its promoter--billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala passed away--has said it has strong financial means to add a new aircraft every two weeks or 72 aircraft over the next five years, media reports said.
In a statement on Wednesday, its founder and CEO Vinay Dube said Akasa Air is financially strong enough to place a large aircraft order in the next 18 months that would be bigger than the previous one.
On November 26, last year, Akasa Air had signed its first aircraft deal with Boeing to purchase 72 Max planes, and, so far, has received three of them.
"Thanks in no small part to Mr. Jhunjhunwala, for which we will always be grateful, Akasa Air is a well-capitalised airline with the financial means to induct 72 aircraft over the next five years," Dube said in his statement.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who along with his family held around a 45 percent stake in Akasa Air, passed away on Sunday morning (Aug 14). A week ago, on August 7, Akasa Air launched its first flight taking off from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, bound for Ahmedabad’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport.
Jhunjhunwala was also present on the inaugural flight.
“Today marks a significant milestone in Akasa Air’s journey as we successfully commence our commercial operations with our maiden flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad."— Akasa Air (@AkasaAir) August 7, 2022
- Vinay Dube, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Akasa Air. Read More: https://t.co/xpTpKrjhqe#OurFirstAkasa pic.twitter.com/BeXXGKSfSA
"We will continue to grow our fleet by adding one new aircraft every two weeks. While these are gratifying moments in our journey, we at Akasa Air continue to mourn the passing of Mr. Jhunjhunwala," Dube said.
For those at Akasa who got to know him and whose lives he has touched, this is a deep personal loss, the CEO mentioned.
Emphasising that the airline's growth is well on the path, Dube asserted, "In fact, our financial platform is strong enough to allow Akasa to place an aircraft order in the next 18 months that will be significantly larger than our first."
"We are also thankful that Mr. Jhunjhunwala supported us in recruiting some of the best aviation talents in the country. He wanted us to have a top-notch leadership team that made all day-to-day decisions at the airline without having to fall back on him or any other investor," Dube mentioned.
Anyone that saw him on the inaugural flight on August 7 knows how proud he was of each Akasa employee and partner, the CEO noted.
"On our part, we couldn't be prouder and more fortunate to have known him," he added.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala recognised India's potential as one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential and decades of progress ahead of us, Dube said.
"He was a true believer in India's potential and saw Akasa Air serving our nation by building the transportation links that will support India's ongoing economic transformation," the CEO noted.
Akasa Air will honour Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's legacy, values, and belief in it by striving to run an extraordinary airline, he said.