Akasa Air Receives Third Aircraft In Delhi, Company says 'Growth Is Secure'

Days after Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's death, the airline said its financial platform is strong enough to allow Akasa to place an aircraft order in the next 18 months that will be significantly larger than its first order

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With the passing away of ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, the wind beneath Akasa Air's wings might be temporarily sucked out. However, the airline is braving this emotional crisis and is all geared to make Akasa Air align with Jhunjhunwala's legacy, values and beliefs. The airline said its financial platform is strong enough to allow Akasa to place an aircraft order in the next 18 months that will be significantly larger than its first order.

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On Tuesday, Akasa Air received its third aircraft in Delhi, which will be put into operation on the Mumbai-Bengaluru sector shortly. "We will continue to grow our fleet by adding one new aircraft every two weeks. Akasa Air will honor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's legacy, values, and belief in us by striving to run an extraordinary airline," said Vinay Dube, founder and CEO at Akasa Air.

Jhunjhunwala had invested $35 million for an estimated 40 per cent stake in the airline, which aims to have 72 aircraft over the next five years.

"Thanks is no small part to Jhunjhunwala, for which we will always be grateful. Akasa Air is a well-capitalized airline with the financial means to induct 72 aircraft over the next five years. 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. In simple terms, our growth is secure."

While these are gratifying moments in the company's journey, Akasa Air continues to mourn the loss. "For those of us at Akasa that got to know him and whose lives he has touched, this is a deep personal loss," Dube added.

The ace investor recognised India's potential as one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential and decades of progress. "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 added.

From the beginning, Jhunjhunwala made sure Akasa Air had a top-notch leadership team which would make all day-to-day decisions at the airline without having to fall back on him or any other investor.

"He was never supposed to be involved in day-to-day operations of the airline," Bergis Desai, former managing partner of law firm J Sagar Associates and an investor in Akasa Air, told Economic Times.

"Anyone that saw him on our inaugural flight on August 7th knows how proud he was of each and every Akasa employee and partner. On our part, we couldn't be prouder and more fortunate to have known him. We are also thankful that Jhunjhunwala supported us in recruiting some of the best aviation talent in the country," added Dube.

"At a loss of words. Shocked. Saddened. Numb. This is a deeply personal loss. So many memories flashing by since morning. What remains imprinted in my heart and mind is RJ's love of life, courage, simplicity of heart, genuine affection and most importantly, childlike laughter," tweeted Aditya Ghosh, co-founder, Akasa Air.

The airline began commercial operation with its first flight service from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on 7 August 2022.