Indian start-up carrier Akasa Air has placed an order for 72 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, its first order as it prepares to start operations, and a boost for Boeing at the Dubai Airshow. 

The order comprises the 737-8 and the higher capacity 737-8200, Boeing announced on the third day of the 2021 Dubai Airshow on November 16, 2021. 

The deal is worth almost $9 billion at list prices, though customers usually negotiate discounts. 

Akasa Air is an ultra-low-cost carrier backed by Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. It plans to start operations in mid-2022.  The Indian market is likely to see more shake-ups in coming months after ailing flag carrier Air India was acquired by conglomerate Tata on October 8, 2021. 

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“We believe that the new 737 MAX airplane will support our aim of running not just a cost-efficient, reliable and affordable airline, but also an environmentally friendly company with the youngest and greenest fleet in the Indian skies," Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube said in a statement. Dube is the former chief executive of Jet Airways. 

Boeing said the order was a “key endorsement” of the 737 family in the Indian market. 

"The 737 MAX, with its optimized performance, flexibility and capability, is the perfect airplane to establish Akasa Air in the Indian market and ensure it effectively grows its network," Stan Deal, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, commented.

The higher capacity variant of the MAX is in use with Ryanair. The Irish low cost carrier has ordered 210 of the 737-8200 variant, but ended talks with Boeing over a potential order for 737 MAX 10 aircraft on September 6, 2021 after disagreement over the price. 

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