Saturday, August 19, 2023

Kissa Kursi Ka: Plane reconfig will add over 1,000 seats to Akasa Air

According to recent media reports, Akasa Air has started reconfiguring 11 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, replacing the dozen, roomy business class-like seats in these with economy class furniture. The refit will lead to the addition of 15 seats per jet, thus ensuring that  these birds too have 189 seats, like the other Boeing 737 Max planes in its young fleet of 20.

These  planes  came fitted with such premium seats due to supply chain challenges. The move from 174 seats to 189 will help the company in more ways than one.

A small fleet with multiple sub-types limits an airline's operational flexibility. When a fleet is made up of a single type of aircraft, an airline can swap planes as and when required. With a diverse fleet, this becomes difficult, as passengers who have paid for business class-like seats may not get those if one type of aircraft is swapped with another, leading to apologies and refunds. On the other hand, if a 189-seater is replaced with a 174-seater,  there’s the risk of overbooking.

Following the re-configuration, this aspect will be duly taken care of.

The airline operated 3,787 flights in June, the latest month for which the regulator, the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), has released the data. This translates to an average of 6.6 flights per aircraft per day (added), leading to the deployment of approximately 22,611 seats per day on average. This was with a combination of eleven 174-seater aircraft and eight 189-seaters (the 20th plane was delivered end July) <added>.

When the reconfiguration is complete, the airline can deploy roughly 23,700 seats per day with the same number of aircraft, an increase of 1,089 seats, which is almost like adding an aircraft to its fleet. A 4.8 percent increase in capacity without increase in operational costs can work wonders with its bottomline.

19/08/2023 Ameya Joshi/Moneycontrol

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