Akasa Air (QP, Mumbai Int'l) is likely to have to further delay the launch of commercial flight operations, as it is expected to receive its first aircraft only in June or July, a senior official at India’s civil aviation authority has told the Press Trust of India.

The carrier backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala had already postponed earlier this month the expected launch of operations from an initial start date of June, to July, which airline officials have since been sticking to in interviews with local media.

The Indian government gave the ultra-low-cost start-up, which is registered in Mumbai as SNV Aviation, its vital No Objection Certificate (NOC) in October. Once the first of seventy-two ordered B737 MAX is delivered, it can then conduct its proving flights.

“Their aircraft delivery is delayed, and it is expected to come around June or July. As far as its other procedures are concerned, they all are on track,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation official told the news agency.

Akasa Air CEO Vinay Dube told the Press Trust of India in a statement: “We expect our first aircraft delivery by mid-June 2022. The first aircraft will help us with our operating permit and the proving flights will be held as per regulatory requirements prior to the receipt [of the air operator’s certificate (AOC)].”

He added that the airline intends to commence commercial operations in July 2022 and is on course for later aircraft deliveries to operate 18 aircraft by the end of March 2023.