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Business News/ Companies / News/  Akasa gets nod to fly overseas
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Akasa gets nod to fly overseas

Aviation regulator to look into availability of bilateral air traffic rights following approval granted to the airline

CEO Vinay Dube says Akasa Air is targeting destinations in South Asia, South-east Asia and the Middle East within the range of a 737 MAX from India.Premium
CEO Vinay Dube says Akasa Air is targeting destinations in South Asia, South-east Asia and the Middle East within the range of a 737 MAX from India.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is set to assess the availability of bilateral air traffic rights with foreign countries following the approval granted to Akasa Air, India’s youngest airline, by the civil aviation ministry, a person aware of the matter said.

“According to the DGCA, Akasa Air is eligible to apply for international scheduled air transport services," the ministry informed the airline. “However, it is also informed that based on traffic rights to be allocated to Akasa Air, scrutiny of country-specific preparedness will be carried out by the DGCA before permitting Akasa Air to operate international operations."

Since 2019, Indian airlines have shown strong interest in expanding their presence in the international market due to the potential for higher yields. India’s largest airline, IndiGo, has also announced its intention to allocate 30% capacity to international routes within two years.

Under Indian civil aviation regulations, airlines are eligible to get international flight rights if they have a fleet of 20 aircraft or completed five years of operations.

At present, bilateral air traffic rights for highly sought-after destinations such as the UAE, Qatar and Singapore are almost exhausted on both sides. But, with Go First’s operations suspended since May, the government may consider reviewing those rights, an official said.

Akasa Air started domestic operations on 7 August 2022, with its inaugural flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Currently, it commands a 4.2% share of India’s aviation market. The airline has a fleet of 20 aircraft and is seeking to expand to 76 planes, including 23 Boeing 737-8s and 53 Boeing 737-8-200s. It recently placed an order for four Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft at the Paris Air Show.

On 4 August, Akasa submitted a letter to the civil aviation ministry seeking approval for its designation as a scheduled international carrier and subsequently requested allocation of traffic rights.

“We are now working with all relevant authorities on our request for the traffic rights and will soon be able to announce international destinations 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," said Vinay Dube, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Akasa Air.

In an earlier interaction with Mint, a senior Akasa executive said the airline is evaluating its global expansion plan and considering Singapore, the Middle East and the Gulf, including Dammam, Qatar and Oman, as possible destinations.

The airline, which is currently fighting a legal battle against 43 pilots who made a sudden exit and disrupted operations, reiterated that it is on track to announce a three-digit aircraft order by the end of this year to serve the growing travel demand.

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Published: 21 Sep 2023, 12:03 AM IST
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