Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, ace investor and founder of Akasa Air recently died in Mumbai at an age of 62 years. Jhunjhunwala was last seen a week before his death on the inaugural flight of Akasa Air between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Thanking his contribution, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Aviation Minister of India said that India got a brand new airline after more than a decade and it will give an impetus to the aviation industry here. However, there were few reports and rumours surrounding the financial standing of Akasa Air, with the demise of the founder of the airline.
In a recently released statement, Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO at Akasa Air said, “Yesterday 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. While these are gratifying moments in our journey, we at Akasa Air continue to mourn the passing of Mr. Jhunjhunwala. For those of us at Akasa that got to know him and whose lives he has touched, this is a deep personal loss.”
Akasa Air: Financial Health
Speaking about the financial health of Akasa Air, Dube said: “Thanks in no small part to Mr. Jhunjhunwala, for which we will always be grateful, Akasa Air is a well-capitalized airline with the financial means to induct 72 aircraft over the next five years. In fact, our financial platform is strong enough to allow Akasa to place an aircraft order in the next 18 months that will be significantly larger than our first. In simple terms, our growth is secure.”
Akasa Air got its first Boeing 737 MAX delivered at the Delhi Airport in June and started flight operations from August 7. Akasa has shortlisted Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Bengaluru and Chennai for the initial phase of operations and has announced the number of flights on each route as well.
“We are also thankful that Mr. Jhunjhunwala supported us in recruiting some of the best aviation talent in the country. He wanted us to have a top-notch leadership team that made all day-to-day decisions at the airline without having to fall back on him or any other investor. Anyone that saw him on our inaugural flight on August 7th knows how proud he was of each Akasa employee and partner. On our part, we couldn’t be prouder and more fortunate to have known him,” said Akasa CEO.
“Mr. Jhunjhunwala recognised India’s potential as one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential and decades of progress ahead of us. He was a true believer in India’s potential and saw Akasa Air serving our nation by building the transportation links that will support India’s ongoing economic transformation,” he further added. “Akasa Air will honour Mr. Jhunjhunwala’s legacy, values, and belief in us by striving to run an extraordinary airline.”