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Delhi HC to Hear Case of Over 40 Akasa Air Pilots’ Abrupt Resignations on Sep 22

Budget airline Akasa Air has moved the Delhi High Court, seeking direction from the aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to take action against those pilots who left the airline without serving their mandatory contractual notice period.

This move comes after a set of pilots abandoned their duties and left without serving their mandatory contractual notice period. This, in turn, forced a disruption of flights between July and September, necessitating last-minute cancellations that stranded customers and caused inconvenience to the travelling public.

The airline, which operated its first commercial flight on August 7, has been India’s most on-time airline with the lowest cancellation rates for the first 11 months of its operations.

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Akasa Air had told the high court that it faces the necessity of cancelling a substantial number of flights, approximately 600-700, during the month of September.

This predicament arose from the sudden resignation of 43 pilots who did not adhere to the stipulated notice period. Akasa Air also told the court that the airline is currently in a critical situation, having already cancelled an average of 24 flights per day in September due to the unexpected pilot resignations.

Despite being only 13 months old, the airline has opted for legal action against the departing pilots and is also pursuing compensation of around Rs 22 crore to account for the loss of revenue caused by grounded aircraft and flight cancellations.

The court has asked the parties to file their written submissions in the matter and has posted it for further hearing on September 22. The court also sought from Advocate Anjana Gosain for DGCA as to what action it take in case flights have to be cancelled due to pilots’ resignation.

“After much deliberation, we have initiated legal remedy against this small set of pilots who have left without serving their mandatory contractual notice period. Their actions were not only in violation of their contract but also the country’s civil aviation regulations. Equally, this is deeply disrespectful to the hard work and utmost integrity that all of you have put in to build our wonderful airline,” read the airline’s letter, a copy of which is in possession of IANS.

“A shortage of pilots is an issue that the airline industry has faced for decades. As a team of planners, we are prepared for unforeseen circumstances and have contingency management strategies in place,” the letter read.

“In that regard, we have a ten-year plan that covers pilot recruitment, training and career upgrades. In fact, as of today, we have enough pilots at various phases of their training to fly over 30 aircraft. We are poised to take delivery of additional aircraft in the remainder of this fiscal year and expand our domestic and international footprint. We also remain on track to announce a three-digit aircraft order before the end of the year,” it further read.

 

 

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