Akasa, India’s newest low-cost carrier, opens bookings and flights start August 7

Passengers wait for their luggage on a conveyor belt at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India, February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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NEW DELHI, July 22 (Reuters) – Akasa Air, India’s newest budget airline, backed by billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, has opened ticket sales for its first commercial flights from August 7, the city said on Friday. airline in a statement.

Akasa’s initial network will include a total of 56 weekly flights between the western cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad and the southern cities of Bangalore and Kochi on its new Boeing (BA.N) 737 MAX aircraft, it said.

“Akasa Air’s network strategy is focused on establishing a strong pan-India presence and providing metro connections to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities across the country,” said Praveen Iyer. , co-founder and commercial director of the airline.

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Iyer said Akasa will expand its network gradually, connecting to more cities as it adds new planes each month.

The commercial launch of Akasa comes at a time when domestic air travel in India has seen a strong recovery, with airlines carrying more than 57 million passengers in the first six months of the year, up 238% on compared to a year ago, according to government data.

This is helping airlines such as IndiGo (INGL.NS), India’s largest carrier, and Vistara, a joint venture between Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) and Tata Sons, to increase their capacity and utilization levels.

Air India, under its new owners, the Tata Group, and the full-service carrier Jet Airways (JET.NS), which emerged from bankruptcy, are close to finalizing new plane orders. Read more

Akasa, which has a total of 72 Boeing planes on order, will compete directly with other budget carriers like IndiGo, SpiceJet (SPJT.NS) and GoFirst.

Jhunjhunwala, known as “India’s Warren Buffett”, has teamed up with former Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube and former IndiGo director Aditya Ghosh for Akasa.

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Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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