New Delhi (Reuters) – Indian budget carrier Akasa Air is flying less and will give up market share in the short term to ensure it runs a reliable operation after some pilots quit the airline, CEO Vinay Dube told employees in an email late on Tuesday.
“When a small set of pilots abandoned their duties and left without serving their mandatory contractual notice period, it forced a disruption of flights between July and September, necessitating last minute cancellations,” Dube said in the email reviewed by Reuters.
Akasa’s market share slipped to 4.2% in August from 5.2% a month earlier, according to latest available data from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulator.
The company has initiated legal action against the pilots who have quit without serving their mandatory contractual notice period, Dube said.
The airline, founded by Dube and former IndiGo (INGL.NS) president Aditya Ghosh in 2022, had in June placed an order for four Boeing 747 Max jets to further its plans to fly internationally by the end of the year.
The company is on track to announce a three-digit aircraft order before the end of the year, Dube said.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) designated the company as an International Scheduled operator, allowing Akasa to begin international flights, he said.
“The MOCA is now working on our request for traffic rights so you will have to wait a short while longer to know which international destination we will fly to first,” he added.
Akasa did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for a comment.
Shares of rival IndiGo (INGL.NS), India’s largest airline by market share, reversed course to trade 0.5% higher after the report on Akasa.