Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-owned Akasa Air last week (on August 7) saw its first commercial flight depart from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. It on Friday also inaugurated its service in Bengaluru-Kochi-Bengaluru sector. Now, after the demise of Jhunjhunwala, India’s newest airline’s future is grabbing attention. The ace investor held a 40 per cent stake in the company, and aviation veterans Aditya Ghosh and Vinay Dube are the co-founders of the airline.
The legendary investor died on Sunday morning. He was 62 and was suffering from kidney ailments. According to sources, he was undergoing dialysis on a regular basis as both his kidneys had failed. He was brought to the Candy Breach Hospital at 6:45 AM and was declared dead.
Jhunjhunwala teamed up with former chief executives of IndiGo and Jet Airways, Aditya Ghosh and Vinay Dube, respectively, to tap into rising long-term prospects for domestic air travel in India by starting a new company ‘Akasa Air’.
Vinay Dube, founder and CEO of Akasa Air, said on Sunday, “We are deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jhunjhunwala’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace. We at Akasa cannot thank Jhunjhunwala enough for being an early believer in us and putting his trust and faith in us to build a world-class airline.”
He added that Jhunjhunwala had an invincible spirit, was deeply passionate about everything Indian and cared greatly for the well-being of our employees and customers. “Akasa Air will honour Jhunjhunwala’s legacy, values and belief in us by striving to run a great airline.”
Akasa Air has started its commercial operations with two aircraft and plans to induct two 737 MAX aircraft each month to establish a pan-India presence. Its fleet size will be 18 aircraft by the end of March 2023 and over the next four years, the airline will add 54 additional aircraft, taking its total fleet size to 72 aircraft.
Akasa Air is an airline brand under the holding aviation venture SNV Aviation, which is owned by Jhunjhunwala. The company plans to operate as a low-cost carrier. Last year in October, it received a no-objection certificate from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It got its air operator certificate from the DGCA last month.
Akasa, which embarks on its journey to offer Indian flyers a warm, efficient, reliable, and affordable travel experience, will compete with other Indian budget carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet.
The company in December 2021 revealed its brand identity with the unveiling of its symbol ‘Rising A’ and tagline ‘It’s Your Sky’. The ‘Rising A’ is inspired by elements from the sky. It symbolises the warmth of the rising sun, the effortless flight of a bird and the dependability of an aircraft wing, according to information available on its website.
“It’s Your Sky’ is the brand’s promise to embrace everyone and to create an inclusive environment for all Indians regardless of their socio-economic or cultural backgrounds.