Thursday, July 13, 2023

Akasa Air to add 800 staff, operate internationally

Mumbai: Akasa Air, India's newest airline, is planning to add up to 800 new workers by the end of this fiscal year as it prepares to start international services, Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube told Bloomberg News.

The low-cost carrier, which began flying commercially in 2022, is considering expanding its network to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and other parts of South Asia Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh, keeping single-class configuration on the routes, Dube said in an interview Thursday.

Akasa, meaning sky, employs about 3,000 people and controls 4.9% of India's aviation market, where competition is fierce and many airlines have failed. The graveyard includes former tycoon Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. and Jet Airways India Ltd. Right now, Go Airlines India Ltd. isn't flying as it battles insolvency, and SpiceJet Ltd. is also under pressure after a spate of losses.

Covid caused chaos for carriers in India, and elsewhere, but travel demand is rebounding strongly. International traffic to and from India should grow at an annual rate of 13% over the next 10 years, up from 8% historically, with Indian airlines increasing their share "significantly," HSBC analysts including Achal Kumar and Ali Naqvi wrote in a note Thursday. Passenger traffic in India is above pre-pandemic levels despite fares being 30% higher, they said.

Akasa isn't alone in stepping up hiring efforts market leader IndiGo and Air India Ltd. plan to recruit thousands more staff, and both have blockbuster orders for hundreds of aircraft from Airbus SE and Boeing Co.

Dube is finalizing an order for narrowbody jets that he says will be in triple figures in terms of number of planes, with an announcement likely before the end of the year. Akasa ordered four more Boeing 737-8 aircraft last month, increasing its order book to 76 jets to be delivered by March 2027.

13/07/2023 Bloomberg/Economic Times

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