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Akasa Air places order for 72 Boeings, to begin flights early next year

DUBAI, Nov 17: Akasa Air on Tuesday placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX jets at a cost of $9 billion that will, incidentally, provide the US manufacturer with a break from idling business following a couple of air crashes involving its latest fully automated versions in recent years.

The order from billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's new venture follows clearance for the new Boeings by Indian air safety regulator recently. The regulatory grounding had followed the two crashes that killed 346 people.

The low-cost airline received the clearance from the Civil Aviation Ministry last month. The flights will start early next year with 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200.

"Akasa Air's order includes two variants from the 737 MAX family, including the 737-8 and the high-capacity 737-8-200," the joint statement by Akasa Air and Boeing said.

"We are delighted to partner with Boeing for our first airplane order and thank them for their trust and confidence in Akasa Air's business plan and leadership team," the airline's CEO, Vinay Dube, said, according to the statement.

"India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with an unparalleled potential. We are already witnessing a strong recovery in air travel, and we see decades of growth ahead of us," Dube said.

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