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Akasa Air well capitalised, Jhunjhunwala's untimely demise won't affect operations: Vinay Dube

Akasa will continue to grow its fleet by adding one new aircraft every two weeks, CEO Dube said

August 17, 2022 / 03:31 PM IST

Akasa Air continues to mourn Rakesh Jhunjhunwala but his passing will not affect its operations or growth, India’s newest airline’s chief executive officer and co-founder Vinay Dube said on August 17.

Billionaire investor Jhunjhunwala, the biggest investor in the low-cost airline, passed away on August 14, exactly a week after Akasa launched its operations with a Mumbai-Ahmedabad flight.

"Yesterday (August 16) we received our 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," Dube said in a release to the media.

Jhunjhunwala’s family holds around 45 percent stake in the airline through three trusts named after his children Nishtha, Aryaman, and Aryavir.

Dube, a former CEO of Jet Airways, said Akasa Air was well capitalised with the financial means to induct 72 aircraft over the next five years.

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Akasa was looking to come out with a second order for aircraft over the next 18 months which would be significantly larger than the first order, he said.

Dube reassured the shareholders that despite the untimely demise of Jhunjhunwala, Akasa Air had a top-notch leadership team that would make all day-to-day decisions without having to fall back on any investor.

In this last interview, Jhunjhunwala had said that Akasa Air was a frugal airline and would be very competitive in the aviation space

"Our competitors are ordering new chairs in response to Akasa's chair," Jhunjhunwala told CNBC TV-18.

Akasa would be competing with the likes of IndiGo and SpiceJet for a share of India’s fast-growing domestic air travel market, he said.

Also read: I would have put money in Akasa Air had Rakesh asked, says Ramesh Damani

There will be a lot more flying as discretionary spending per capita goes up, he added. Jhunjhunwala also cited civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia's prediction that India would reach 40 crore air travellers over the next four years.

Also read: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala says Akasa Air is a frugal airline

He said India's aircraft requirement will almost double by 2027 and the country would need 1,200 aircraft.

Speaking about the challenges in the aviation sector, Jhunjhunwala said he was "prepared for Akasa Air to even fail, but better to have tried and failed than not tried at all".
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