Pilots being on “sick leave”, weather and operational reasons reportedly led to a number of cancellations and delays in Akasa Air flights in the last 48 hours. As per the publicly available data, at least 10 Akasa Air flights were canceled on February 10 and 12 while 17-18 other flights were delayed. While the airline expressed regret, it simultaneously underlined that it now has 600 pilots, double the size of its fleet and there was no shortage.
Vinay Dube, Founder and CEO, Akasa Air asserted that the airline does not have a shortage of pilots. “Akasa Air is sufficiently staffed with over 600 pilots, enough to operate more than double the size of our current fleet. We have a proven track record of being India’s most dependable and on time airline since our inception and we continue to strive to provide our customers with a highly reliable offering.”
Akasa Air, which prides itself on being the “most punctual airline” with an average OTP of 83.7 per cent in 2023, had at least 17 flights delayed on February 11, making its average OTP at 73.5 per cent. At least 25 flights had late landings.
According to information, over 10 flights were canceled on February 11 and 12. Sources said that the issue was due to some pilots calling in sick. The airline operates 800 weekly flights making it approximately 115 daily flights. Another source said that besides sick leave, reasons such as the weather and operational issues were cited for the cancellations.
Akasa Air spokesperson said: “We apologise for the inconvenience caused due to the cancellation of some flights on February 11-12, 2024. This was an aberration and as India’s most on time airline we continue to strive to provide our customers with a highly reliable offering.”
Last year, the airline was facing troubles after multiple pilots quit to join Air India Express. The airline eventually sought legal recourse to deal with the issue.
In 2023, Akasa had 23192 departures of which it canceled 84 flights, most of these due to operational reasons. The airline delayed 3786. According to the data provided by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, 2521 were due to ‘reactionary reasons’ followed by 553 flights delayed due to (Air Traffic Control) ATC reasons.