In a startling turn of events, the recently inaugurated Akasa Air finds itself teetering on the brink of a potential shutdown. The airline made a grim admission to the Delhi High Court this past Tuesday, revealing that it faces a dire crisis precipitated by the abrupt resignation of 43 pilots. This mass exodus has compelled the carrier to take the drastic step of canceling a staggering 24 flights daily throughout the month of September, casting a shadow of uncertainty over its future.
Some sources state that because the pilots didn’t follow the required notice period of either 6 months (for first officers) or 1 year (for captains), Akasa Air had no choice but to cancel many flights every day. The airline’s legal representative shared this information with Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora. It’s said that these pilots have now joined rival airlines. According to sources, a high-ranking executive sent a letter to a competing group, expressing Akasa Air’s worries about the pilots leaving and deeming it unethical.
Currently, Akasa Air runs 120 flights daily, and if more pilots keep resigning, the airline may have to cancel 600-700 flights this month. They already canceled 700 flights in August. To address this situation, the airline has asked the court to give the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) the authority to enforce the required notice period regulations.
The airline is reportedly aiming to take punitive action against the pilots and claim approximately Rs 22 crore as compensation for the revenue loss caused by flight cancellations and groundings. Just last week, the airline had stated its intent to pursue legal action against pilots who departed without fulfilling their contractual notice period obligations. An Akasa Air spokesperson emphasized that they were pursuing legal remedies against a specific group of pilots who had violated their contracts and the country’s aviation regulations. This departure, they stressed, was both unlawful and unethical, leading to disruptions and last-minute flight cancellations in August, inconveniencing thousands of passengers.
The spokesperson also expressed relief, stating, “Thankfully, that chapter is now behind us, thanks to the dedication of our colleagues. As a young startup, we take pride in the accomplishments of every member of the Akasa team during our first year of operations.” They went on to highlight that such conduct is “highly disrespectful to the unwavering commitment and integrity demonstrated by our entire team, who show up for work every day.”