India’s Akasa may take off before Jet 2.0

Akasa received its initial regulatory approval.

According to a story in the Economic Times quoting a top government source, India’s newest airline, Akasa, which is sponsored by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, might acquire its air operator’s permit (AOP) as early as April and begin flying before Jet Airways 2.0.

According to the financial journal, Jet Airways is unlikely to receive its AOP, which is now inactive, over the next six months, according to the official. Last year, Jet, which has been in bankruptcy since 2019, found new owners in the Jalan-Kalrock Consortium.

On October 11, Akasa, doing business as SNV Aviation, acquired its first regulatory approval—the no-objection certificate (NOC)—and filed for the AOP.

In addition, the airline, which was launched by Jet Airways’ former CEO Vinay Dube, has placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 Max jets. It went on to order CFM engines to power the plane.

Akasa was co-founded by Aditya Ghosh, the former president of IndiGo.

Jet Airways’ operating permit, or AOP, was revoked months after the airline ceased operations in April 2019. The new owners of the airline will have to reapply to get it active.

According to the above-mentioned authority, they have yet to do so.

“We had called them once to submit their business plan. They never came for the meeting. I believe the plans are stuck internally,” the ET report quoted the official as saying.

The airline’s AOP application is in progress, according to a top official at the company. Jet Airways’ representative did not react to ET’s questions until after press time on Sunday.

For the fourth time in a year, Jet’s new owners — a partnership led by London’s Kalrock Capital and Dubai-based Indian tycoon Murari Lal Jalan – postponed the start of operations of the insolvent airline in September. The airline plans to begin operations between January and March, according to a statement.

The consortium had intended to restart operations in the summer of 2021, with the timetable beginning on the final Sunday of March, according to the country’s aviation regulator.

In a later interview with ET, Jalan stated that it will begin operations in July. Later, the airline’s court-appointed resolution professional allegedly stated that flights will begin in December.

The consortium announced in September that the revalidation of its AOP was on track. The airline is said to be in negotiations with jet manufacturers Airbus and Boeing about new planes but has yet to make an announcement. Meanwhile, it remains mired in legal wranglings, particularly with labor unions.

The deputy labor commissioner in Mumbai recently ordered the airline to pay a former employee’s gratuity. Jet Airways ceased operations in April 2019 owing to mounting losses, debts, and obligations. The National Company Law Tribunal accepted it for insolvency proceedings in June 2019.