Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Akasa Air on Wednesday announced an agreement to purchase CFM LEAP-1B engines to power its Boeing 737 MAX airplanes.
The overall deal is estimated to be worth $4.5 billion (INR 33,000 crore). The deal includes spare engines and long-term service. The pact was signed with CFM at the ongoing Dubai Airshow.
This development comes a day after the upcoming ‘ultra low-cost’ carrier announced its intention to purchase 72 737 MAX planes from Boeing.
‘We are pleased to partner with CFM International as we embark on an exciting journey to launch the greenest, most affordable and most dependable airline in India.’ Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube said.
‘Our partnership with CFM will ensure that we adhere to the world’s highest standards of maintenance and deliver the industry’s best technical dispatch reliability,’ Dube added.
According to him, the high-performance LEAP-1B engine will support Akasa’s tech-driven culture by enabling real-time engine monitoring and predictive maintenance planning.
“With this agreement, we now have the foundation to ensure the most competitive and reliable operations in our fast growing market,” Dube added.
Akasa Air, owned by SNV Aviation, and backed by ‘Big Bull’ Jhunjhunwala will start flying next year.
“We are proud to develop a strong relationship with Akasa and play a key role in the launch of their operations, by providing them with the industry-leading asset utilisation, fuel efficiency, and overall cost of ownership,” Philippe Couteaux, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for CFM International, said.
India’s aviation regulator DGCA lifted the ban on Boeing 737 Max planes’ commercial flight operations after almost two-and-half years, last August.
All 737 Max planes were grounded in India by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on March 13, 2019, three days after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max plane near Addis Ababa, which had left 157 people, including four Indians, dead.
Akasa Air will be the second airline in India to operate this narrow-body 737 Max aircraft, after SpiceJet.
India’s largest domestic carrier IndiGo operates Airbus aircraft exclusively.
India’s growing economy and expanding middle class will fuel strong demand for commercial flights, a lot of them for first-time fliers.
Boeing’s 2021 Commercial Market Outlook forecast sees this rapid demand driving the need for more than 2,200 new airplanes in South Asia valued at nearly $320 billion over the next two decades.
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