MUMBAI- In a recent conversation with CNBC-TV18, Vinay Dube, the CEO of Akasa Air (QP), unveiled the airline’s ambitious strategy to extend its services globally, focusing on significant destinations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Presently, the airline is in anticipation of approvals from the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait to initiate operations in these regions.
Akasa Air Middle-East Flights
Dube expressed confidence in the projected timeline, stating, “It’s going to be another few months. We’re hoping another 3-4 months. But we are a little dependent in terms of permissions we (need to) get from third parties from foreign countries.”
The CEO indicated a phased approach to international operations, with the initial destinations being Doha, Kuwait, Riyadh, and Jeddah. He highlighted Akasa Air’s intention to broaden its presence across the Middle East and Southeast Asia, covering destinations like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives.
When asked about the timeline for the initiation of international flights, Dube mentioned, “Without a doubt, in the first half, you should see us fly to these international destinations.” This statement provides clear insight into the airline’s schedule, offering expectations for travelers anticipating the launch of Akasa Air’s international services.
Emphasizing the airline’s expansion, Dube disclosed that Akasa Air has notably augmented its pilot roster in the past six months, recruiting over 150 pilots. This brings the total count to over 500 pilots, positioning Akasa Air for substantial growth in the upcoming months.
The CEO also discussed the airline’s funding strategy, noting that international operations won’t require specific funding. However, he mentioned that if necessary, a fundraising initiative would be geared towards a three-digit aircraft order, expected to be unveiled in January, without requiring additional capital.
Looking forward, Akasa Air aspires to be India’s cost leader and a trailblazer in service excellence. The growth target is set at 76 aircraft by mid-2027, with the announcement of the next aircraft order and the strategy for aircraft delivery scheduled for January.
Akasa Air aims to possess a fleet of 22 aircraft by the end of 2023, reaching 25 by March and plans to double its fleet by the end of the next fiscal year.
Legacy of the Jhunjhunwala Family
In addition to the plans for international expansion, Dube addressed the Jhunjhunwala family’s financial and emotional commitment to Akasa Airways.
He reassured that the family is deeply involved in the airline’s success, both in terms of financial support and emotional investment, considering it a pivotal element of their legacy.
“Akasa is intricately linked to the Jhunjhunwala legacy, and the family remains as dedicated to the brand financially and emotionally as they were many months ago.”
Dube highlighted the significance of the late Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s decision, saying,
“This was a significant decision for the late and great Rakesh Jhunjhunwala — he placed a significant bet on Akasa.”
Underlining Akasa’s vital role in the family’s legacy, he further commented, “Akasa is an integral part of his legacy, and the Jhunjhunwala family has absolutely no intention of divesting.”
Stay tuned with us. Further, follow us on social media for the latest updates.