Akasa Air does not have any shortage of pilots and the airline has enough captains and first officers to operate more than double the size of its current fleet, its founder and chief executive officer Vinay Dube stated on Monday.
The airline, which has 23 Max aircraft in its fleet, cancelled a few flights on Sunday and Monday due to operational reasons. These cancellations were not due to a lack of a sufficient number of pilots, the airline clarified.
Vinay Dube, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Akasa Air, told Business Standard, "I would like to clarify that we do not have a shortage of pilots. Akasa Air is sufficiently staffed with over 600 pilots, enough to operate more than double the size of our current fleet."
"We have a proven track record of being India’s most dependable and on-time airline since our inception, and we continue to strive to provide our customers with a highly reliable offering," he added.
In a separate statement, the airline's spokesperson apologised for the "inconvenience caused due to the cancellation of some flights" on 11 and 12 February (Sunday and Monday). "This was an aberration and as India’s most on-time airline, we continue to strive to provide our customers with a highly reliable offering," the spokesperson added.
In September last year, about 43 pilots of Akasa Air abruptly resigned to join rival airlines, following which the airline told the Delhi High Court that it is in a state of crisis and "may shut down". The airline later denied it is shutting down, stating that its future and growth path were intact. Last month, the airline placed an order for 150 Max aircraft with US-based aerospace company Boeing.
The aforementioned 43 Akasa Air pilots allegedly did not serve their mandatory notice period of six months (for first officers) or one year (for captains), forcing the carrier to cancel 24 flights per day in September 2023. These pilots primarily joined Tata Group-run Air India Express.