Akasa Air Gets Approval To Operate On International Routes: Report


Akasa Air has received permission from regulators to operate on international routes, sources said. The low-cost airline is preparing to launch international flights by December this year, and will start operations in the Middle East region initially, sources added.

According to a report by the Economic Times, the airline is yet to receive traffic rights from the government, following which it will need to secure approval from respective countries. Notably, flying rights are distributed on a bilateral reciprocal basis by the government to the airlines of their country. However, traffic rights on important India-Middle East routes like Dubai, Doha, etc., have already been fully utilised, creating a shortage issue for new players. Airlines are not permitted to operate more flights than they are allotted.

Airlines seek the licence to fly international routes as it provides a big boost to their growth trajectory. International routes are more profitable because of less competition. Additionally, operating on overseas routes helps enhance the utilisation of aircraft.

Earlier, regulators required airlines to operate for at least five years on domestic routes and possess a fleet of 20 aircraft for being eligible to apply for international flights. However, in 2016, the five-year experience mandate was dropped in the light of a new civil aviation policy. Vistara started operations last year in August and now operates flights to 16 destinations with more than 900 flights per week. The airline has a fleet of 20 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, along with 56 additional 737 Max placed on order. The aviation market has seen Vistara capture nearly 5 per cent of the market share since August last year, bypassing SpiceJet, which has been going through a financial crisis. 

Things for Akasa Air started becoming problematic after a series of resignations of 43 pilots over the span of 2 months, the report noted. The carrier lost more than 1 per cent of the market share due to more than 630 flight cancellations last month itself. Recently, the airline moved Bombay High Court against the pilots stating that the resignations stand invalid as the pilots didn’t complete a notice period of six months, which is a part of their employment contract. 

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