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Akasa Air is a frugal airline & will be competitive: Jhunjhunwala

Akasa Air is a frugal airline and will be very competitive in the aviation space, ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala has said. The airline commenced operations on Monday.

Jhunjhunwala expressed confidence in the future of India’s aviation sector, reports

“Our competitors are ordering new chairs in response to Akasa’s chair,” he told CNBC TV-18.

There will be a lot more flying as discretionary spending per capita goes up, he added. Jhunjhunwala also cited Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s prediction that India expects to reach 40 crore air travellers in the next four years.

Crediting the surge in the number of flyers, the 62-year-old noted that India’s aircraft fleet size requirement will almost double by 2027 and it will need 1,200 aircraft.

Speaking about the challenges in the aviation sector, Jhunjhunwala said he was “prepared for Akasa Air to even fail, but better to have tried and failed than not tried at all”.

The Indian aviation sector is under pressure because of high jet fuel prices and high taxes due to which most airlines are reporting losses.

The ace investor has teamed up with former chief executives of IndiGo and Jet Airways to launch Akasa, which loosely translates to sky.

Jhunjhunwala has invested USD 35 million for an estimated 40 per cent stake in the airline, which aims to have 18 aircraft within 12 months from the launch and 72 over the next five years.

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