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Sanjeev Gadhia’s Astral Aviation looks ready to enter the Indian market

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The Kenya based airline Astral Aviation will soon enter India as it leases the world’s first converted Airbus A320 airplane to Pradhaan Air Express. The news was shared by an enthusiast on Twitter as his posted the picture of the plane, and comes at a time when Akasa Air is also gearing up to launch its operations and connect destinations less travelled to the mainland. Pradhaan Air Express will begin operations in India starting later this year, has already received the NOC from Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airbus A320 will arrive in New Delhi later this month.

In addition to the two A320Fs which have been acquired from Vaayu, which are the first converted A320Fs in the world, we have also signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to acquire two A321Fs by 2023 and four A330-300Fs (delivery between 2024 and 2025) while we are negotiating to acquire two A330-200Fs (2023-4) and four B777-300ERFs (2024-5). We are very impressed with the Airbus freighter products and the support that has been given from Airbus, EFW and ST Engineering in inducting the A320F; hence we remain confident in acquiring more Airbus freighters.”

Sanjeev Gadhia, Founder and CEO, Astral Aviation

This will be the world’s first A320, narrow body P2F aircraft in India and has been transformed by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) – a joint venture of ST Engineering and Airbus – at its facility in Singapore. Pradhaan Air Express, which is an homegrown start-up will be the launch customer for Astral’s operations in India, and will offer additional capacity to Indian forwarders and shippers on domestic and international routes. They will also be leasing a second A320 from Astral by the later half of 2022 and two A321s by next year. Gadhia said that they expect Pradhaan Air Express to be successful with the A320s and A321s, in respect to transportation of e-commerce cargo.

We thank our lessor for having confidence in us to offer the world’s first A320 converted freighter for the Indian market. This will secure dedicated cargo capacity, boosting the trade’s self-reliance,”

Anand, Founder & CEO, Pradhaan Air Express

Its arrival in India is part of Astral’s expansion plans outside Africa – where it has a strong presence – to countries like China, South Korea, UAE etc. on the back of aircrafts like the A330-200 which can carry upto 60 tons and A330-300, which can carry upto 62 tons.

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