The newly launched Akasa Air on Wednesday received approval from the ministry of civil aviation for the commencement of international flights, according to the airline. Though the company has not revealed the date for starting international operations, it is aiming to target South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East as popular destinations.
"The Ministry of Civil Aviation has recognised the strength of Akasa Air's operations and we have been designated as an International Scheduled Operator. This new designation will allow us to fly internationally, enabling us to take one step closer to our dream of launching international operations before the end of this year. We are now working with all relevant authorities on our request for traffic rights and will soon be able to announce the international destination we will fly to. We are targeting destinations within the range of a 737 MAX from India in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East," says Vinay Dube, founder and CEO, Akasa Air.
"We are also on track to announce a 3-digit aircraft order by the end of this year to serve the growing travel demand. We have always prioritised reliability and customer satisfaction through detailed planning and an experienced team, allowing us to become one of the fastest-growing airlines in civil aviation history," he adds.
In order to start international operations, the airline will require traffic allot rights from the government as well as approval from the countries it is aiming to start operations.
The development comes as the airline reportedly grapples with the shortage of pilots. According to several reports, the airline on Tuesday informed the Delhi High Court that the airline is in a "sudden state of crisis" and "may shut down," owing to the resignation of as many as 43 pilots of Akasa Air to join the rival Air India Express. The airline also said that it is reportedly looking to cancel 600-700 flights every day if the pilots’ crisis continues.
Notably, Dube, in an internal communication to employees reportedly says that in the short-term, the low-cost carrier is aiming to give up on market share and fly less as it tries to sustain operations.
Akasa Air currently operates 120 flights every day. Last month, Akasa Air added 20th aircraft to its fleet in order to become eligible for international operations. The airline also said that it is planning to upgrade 40-50 additional pilots in the next 12 months.
In August, the airline's market share reduced to 4.2% for the first time owing to the shortage of pilots. The airline carried 5.27 lakh passengers in August. In June and July, the airline cornered a market share of 4.9% and 5.2%, respectively.