India: Akasa Air announces expansion to the Middle East with direct flights

India’s newest commercial airline, Akasa Air, is gearing up to expand its operations in the Middle East, with plans to launch direct flights to Jeddah, Riyadh, Kuwait, and Doha.

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Vinay Dube, founder and CEO of Akasa Air, expressed optimism about obtaining traffic rights for more Middle Eastern destinations, including Abu Dhabi, despite potential challenges with bilateral flying rights. While the airline aims to add more international destinations this summer, specific plans remain undisclosed.

Akasa Air plans to launch international flights from Mumbai to Doha on March 28, with four nonstop flights each week. The airline, which now has a fleet of 24 aircraft and a team of 700 pilots, plans to extend its network by using open-air rules in the Middle East. Dube emphasized the inclusion of places such as Dammam and Bahrain under these strategies.

However, Akasa Air has no immediate plans for code-sharing agreements with international airlines, including those in the Middle East, and intends to differentiate itself in the market through customer satisfaction rather than price competition. Despite the competitive landscape, Dube emphasized the airline's commitment to punctuality, citing data from India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Dube predicted that during the next ten years, there will be a sharp increase in air travel from India to other countries due to both economic growth and young people's desire to see the world. Akasa Air has placed a definite order for 150 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, including the 737 Max 10 and 737 Max 8-200 types, as part of its ambitions to grow its fleet and personnel in order to satisfy this demand. The airline is still focused on matching capacity with market demand, even though specifics regarding the timelines for fleet expansion were not disclosed.

Moreover, Akasa Air's strategic expansion into the Middle East and beyond reflects its ambition to capitalize on India's burgeoning air travel market and position itself as a leading player in the region.

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