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Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-led Akasa Air gets NoC from govt; set to fly in early 2022

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-led Akasa Air gets NoC from govt; set to fly in early 2022

Akasa Air aims to be the nation's most dependable, affordable, and greenest airline. Akasa Air CEO says airline will serve all Indians with "warmth, inclusiveness, and respect".

PM Modi with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and his wife Rekha Jhunjhunwala. PM Modi with Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and his wife Rekha Jhunjhunwala.

SNV Aviation Pvt Ltd, that will fly under the brand name Akasa Air, has received a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the Ministry of Civil Aviation as it embarks its journey to offer airline services, the company announced today.
 
 Vinay Dube, CEO of Akasa Air said, "We are extremely happy and grateful to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for their support and the grant of the NOC. We will continue to work with the regulatory authorities on all additional compliances required to successfully launch Akasa Air".

Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary of the Finance Ministry's Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM), said the LOI (letter of intent) has been issued to "the successful bidder in the strategic disinvestment transaction of AI. SPA (Special Prorate Agreements) will be signed soon".

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Akasa Air plans to offer flights across India starting early 2022. It aims to be the nation's most dependable, affordable, and greenest airline. Dube said having a robust air transportation system is critical for the nation's progress. "It is this belief that has motivated us to create a modern, efficient, and a quality conscious airline," he said.

He said Akasa Air will serve all Indians with "warmth, inclusiveness, and respect". "It is these qualities that connect people and cultures and help Indians realise their dreams,” he said.

Former IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh, who is on Akasa's board, congratulated Dube and his team on getting the NOC. "Many congratulations to VinayDube and Team #AKASA on receiving the NOC from MOCA," he tweeted.

The airline industry in India is seeing a major shift. On October 8, the Tata Group won the final bid worth Rs 18,000 crore for taking over loss-making Air India. The entire bid comprises taking over Rs 15,300 crore debt and the rest of the amount, which is Rs 2,700 crore, will be paid in cash.

Jhunjhunwala's airline foray

The most astute investor of current times, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, is betting big on the world's second-most populous country, which is hugely under-penetrated in air travel. Just about 8 per cent of India's population fly.

The billionaire investor's predilection for aviation dates back to 2015 when he invested in InterGlobe Aviation, which runs IndiGo. Over the years, irrespective of good or bad results, he grilled the management in investor calls, a sign that he was keenly interested in the sector.

Now, he has directly entered it. And he's bringing company. His team includes, among others, former IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh and former Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube, who will be CEO of Akasa Air and director of the holding company, SNV Aviation Private Limited.

Jhunjhunwala will reportedly invest $35 million (nearly Rs 260 crore) for a 40 per cent stake in Akasa.

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