India’s newest Low Cost Carrier (LCC), Akasa Air, has received clearance from the Ministry of Civil Aviation to begin international operations as an International Scheduled Operator when grappling with the pilot shortage leading to flight cancellations.
The airline had been forced to cancel flights in August due to the sudden departure of more than 40 of its pilots to rival airlines. The carrier has gone to court against the pilots who have left.
The airline, which completed a year of operations this August, now has 20 Boeing B737 MAX jetliners in its fleet, making it eligible to commence lucrative international operations, as per Indian airline regulations.
Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO, said the new designation would allow Akasa Air to fly internationally, “enabling us to take one step closer to our dream of launching international operations before the end of this year.”
Dube said Akasa Air was working with all relevant authorities on its request for traffic rights and will soon announce the international destination it will fly to. The carrier will start operations in December and target destinations within the range of a B737 MAX from India in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. However, it could be affected by pilot shortages.
The carrier took delivery of its first high-capacity Boeing B737-8-200 (registration VT YAV) on 1 August and will use this aircraft and its further B737-8-200 deliveries for international operations. It has said that it remains on track to announce a 3-digit aircraft order by the end of this year to serve the growing travel demand.