Indian carrier Akasa Air has ordered 150 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, landing Boeing its first major commitment for the type weeks after a door plug blow-out accident.

The order, announced on 18 January at the Wings India air show in Hyderabad, comprises Max 10s and Max 8-200s; deliveries will run until 2032, says the low-cost operator.

Akasa order

Source: Akasa Air

Akasa Air and Boeing executives, together with Indian civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia (centre), at the order signing ceremony at Wings India 2024

Airline chief Vinay Dube says the new aircraft will “bolster the strength of our operations” as Akasa – the country’s newest operator – prepares to commence international services “in the very near future”.

With the new commitments, Akasa’s orderbook now stands at 226 737 Max aircraft, with 22 examples in its fleet. 

Dube adds: “This large and historic aircraft order puts Akasa on a path of becoming one of the top 30 leading airlines in the world, by the turn of this decade.”

Akasa’s order follows a series of deals from other Indian operators in the past 12 months: Air India signed for over 400 aircraft in early 2023, while fellow low-cost operator IndiGo splashed out on more than 500 aircraft at the Paris air show in June.

Akasa has hinted at a large commitment for some time: in July, Dube disclosed the airline’s intention to place an order for more than 100 aircraft by end-2023.

The airline says its “landmark” aircraft order is “a testimony of the airline’s solid financial foundation and showcases Boeing’s confidence in Akasa Air’s future”.

Akasa Air 737 Max 8_2

Source: Akasa Air

The 737 Max family was thrust back into the spotlight in recent weeks, after an Alaska Airlines Max 9 aircraft suffered rapid depressurisation after a door plug over a deactivated mid-cabin emergency exit blew out of the fuselage while in flight.

The three-month old jet was operating a flight from Portland, Oregon to Southern California when the accident happened shortly after take-off.

A day later, US regulators issued an emergency airworthiness directive grounding Max 9s with such door plugs until those aircraft are cleared to return to service. Other Max 9 operators globally have been grounding the type as the safety scare spreads.

Akasa’s order does not include the Max 9, but the airline has completed a series of inspections on its fleet of Max 8s and noted no “adverse findings”.