Seats, fabric and USBs: What Akasa needs to modify its aircraft interiors


Akasa Air is facing the impact of global supply chain disruptions. Though the airline does not expect any delay in deliveries, shortage of aircraft parts may affect the reconfiguration of its fleet for 6–9 months.

“We have been facing some global supply chain issues that are preventing us from reconfiguring the interiors of these aircraft in a timely manner. We have got some delays on three elements of the reconfiguration,” founder and chief executive Vinay Dube told reporters on Monday.

The airline is facing disruptions on the delivery of seats, USB ports, and seat fabric.

The three-month old airline with a fleet of seven aircraft in India, operates on nine routes —Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Chennai, Delhi, Agartala and Guwahati.

Akasa’s orderbook includes a firm order of 72 Boeing 737 MAX planes, powered by CFM LEAP-1B engines. The first 20 aircraft will be brand new, but is configured to accommodate 174 seats, as per the specifications of another airline, while Akaksa has a requirement of 189 seats, Dube said.

However, the airline will not be able to add seats December onwards due to the shortage.

While it is trying to maintain the timeline for inducting new planes to its fleet, from the 9th aircraft it will have to accept a different configuration for all new aircraft until the 19th aircraft is delivered. These 11 Boeing 737 MAX planes will have 174 economy seats with the front three rows in a 2-2 configuration with more legroom, the airline said. “The emergency and front row, which is our A+ PRODUCT is priced at 1,500 a seat and this (2-2) will be A++ and will be priced at 2,500a seat. This will be sold as economy and we will charge only for seat selection,” said Praveen Iyer, the co-founder and chief commercial officer of Akasa.

The management, however, did not reveal whether it will be compensated by the original equipment manufacturers for the shortage.

Flyers will also see seat covers on a few aircraft with a different upholstery from its signature style and the absence of USB ports on some seats.

Unlike its competitors, such as IndiGo and Go First which are also facing disruptions in operations due to the delays in engines and spare parts supply, Akasa said it does not foresee challenges for engines.

“Our first 20 aircraft have engines on them which is why we are confident that there are no delivery issues and remain unaffected through our first 20 deliveries. There is also no indication or official communications from Boeing that it is going to affect delivery from 21st onwards,” Dube said.

While the airline has so far not met its guidance of inducting an aircraft every two weeks it maintains that it will have a fleet of over 12 by December and 18 aircraft by March.

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