New Delhi: New airline Akasa Air on Thursday took delivery of the first 737 Max aircraft from Boeing in Seattle, USA, a statement said.
Three months after Indian aviation regulator DGCA gave the green light to Max planes, Akasa Air had on November 26 last year signed a deal with Boeing to purchase 72 Max aircraft.
Commenting on the successful delivery of first aircraft on Thursday, Vinay Dube, Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Akasa Air, said, "This is indeed a symbolic milestone in the journey of Akasa Air, bringing us one step closer to the process of obtaining our Air Operator's Permit (AOP) and leading to our commercial launch."
The airline, which is backed by ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and aviation veterans Vinay Dube and Aditya Ghosh, received the no-objection certificate from the Ministry of Civil Aviation in August 2021 to launch commercial flight operations.
In a statement, the airline said, "With a strong commitment to democratise the skies, the airlines' total order of 72 aircraft includes an initial delivery of 18 aircraft by March 2023, followed by delivery of the remaining 54 aircraft over the course of the next four years."
Boeing's 737 Max has a chequered history
In 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide after a malfunctioning flight control system caused two new aircraft to crash in Indonesia (Lion Air Flight 610) and Ethiopia (Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302), killing all 346 people on board.
In the twenty months during the grounding, Boeing redesigned the computer architecture that supported the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) while investigations faulted aircraft design and certification lapses. Flawed information from a single external sensor fed into the system caused it to repeatedly push the planes' noses down as pilots struggled to keep them in the air before both crashes.
Boeing faces legal and financial consequences, as no deliveries of the MAX could be made while the aircraft was grounded, and airlines canceled more orders than Boeing produced during this period.
Boeing found foreign object debris in the fuel tanks of 35 of 50 grounded 737 MAX aircraft that were inspected, and had to check the remainder of the 400 undelivered planes. Boeing had similar problems with 787s produced in South Carolina.
The FAA curtailed Boeing's delegated authority and invited global aviation stakeholders to comment on pending changes to the aircraft and to pilot training. The FAA lifted its grounding order in 2020; all aircraft must be repaired to comply with various airworthiness directives.