WFY Today

Announcing Now: The Akasa Air To Fly Beyond Indian Borders

Akasa Air will begin international operations on March 28, 2024, with four non-stop flights per week connecting Mumbai and Doha, according to a company release. Flight reservations are now available, with return fares beginning at Rs 29,012.

The airline’s next phase of growth will begin with its operations in Qatar, according to the statement.

Akasa claims to be the first Indian airline to fly internationally after just 19 months of operations.

“We are excited to announce our international operations, beginning with the addition of Doha to our growing network. The addition of four flights per week connecting directly to Mumbai, a key Indian commercial hub, will cater to a diverse set of travellers from both countries, facilitating tourism and commerce while strengthening bilateral ties’, said Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO of Akasa Air.

Akasa’s expansion into Qatar represents the next stage of growth as the airline strives to be among the world’s top 30 airlines by the end of this decade, according to Dube.

Beginning operations in Qatar is consistent with the goals of Qatar Tourism Strategy 2030, which aims to position the country as the fastest-growing tourism destination in the Middle East by 2030.

Akasa Air announced in August of last year that it had added the 20th aircraft to its fleet, allowing the carrier to fly internationally. Akasa Air’s international flying ambitions were boosted in January when the new Indian airline added two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to its growing fleet.

 Akasa Air, backed by star trader and investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who died a few months after the launch, has been working on expanding its network to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and other parts of South Asia—Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh—while maintaining a single-class configuration on the routes.

Akasa, India’s newest airline that launched in 2022, has a 4% market share, while IndiGo retains a dominant 60% and the Tata Group airlines together hold 26%.

Akasa had previously made history in the Indian aviation sector, which has been dubbed a “graveyard of airlines” due to the large number of airlines that have risen and then fallen in a few years. Last year, it became the first airline in the 120-year history of global aviation to grow from zero to twenty aircraft in a single year.

There are also widespread rumours that the Indian budget airline is on the verge of ordering approximately 150 Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody planes in order to capitalise on the travel boom in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market.

With Indigo at the top and Air India a strong second, is Akasa aiming to take the number three spot? Vinay Dube, a veteran who worked in the American aviation industry before taking over Jet Airways and Go First, previously stated that he does not have a target for numbers or market share.

With rising travel demand and India’s expanding aviation infrastructure, the timing appears ideal for a new airline, especially given the challenges faced by existing players such as Go First and SpiceJet.

However, competition from larger airlines with established market dominance could pose challenges to Akasa’s growth trajectory. While Rakesh Jhunjhunwala recognised the need for a unique airline that prioritised quality, the true test lies ahead as Akasa Air strives to deliver on its vision amidst rapid growth.

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