Akasa Air has one of the lowest attrition rates in the industry and expects to have around 3,500 employees by the end of this year, amid reports that scores of cabin crew have put in their papers. Earlier in March, Akasa Air reportedly had said it was planning to take staff strength by another 1,000 employees by March 2024.
Currently, the carrier, which started flying in August last year, operates more than 900 flights every week. It also plans to start international operations by the end of 2023. Akasa Air carried 6.29 lakh passengers in May, and the domestic market share stood at 4.8%.
“At Akasa, we have one of the lowest attrition rates and the fastest-growing network in the industry. Today, we have 3,000 employees and expect to grow to approximately 3,500 employees in 2023,” it said in the statement. Akasa Air, the newest entrant in the world’s fastest-growing aviation market and backed by late ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, said in a statement that it was on course to announce another significant three-digit aircraft order by the end of 2023. It expects to have a total of 72 aircraft by March 2027.
The airline, which currently has 19 planes, expects to have a total of 72 aircraft by March 2027. Last month, the airline announced it will acquire four more Boeing 737 Max planes and said it was looking at a three-digit aircraft order by the end of this year. “The speculation on cabin crew resignations at Akasa is factually incorrect and baseless as is the statement on the reduction of capacity. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite,” the carrier said on Thursday.
Vinay Dube, founder and CEO at Akasa Air, denied reports about the airline facing cabin crew resignations and said that the airline has “one of the lowest attrition rates” in the industry. The statement came in denial of reports on social media that some 200 cabin crew have flown out from Akasa Air to other domestic carriers. Rumours are also doing rounds that Akasa was looking to trim its flight network by withdrawing from certain routes, which it is operating at present.
He said that the budget carrier expects to grow to 3,500 employees by 2023-end as compared to 3,000 employees at the moment. “Today, we have 3,000 employees and expect to grow to approximately 3,500 employees in 2023. We operate over 900 flights per week across our network and are on track with our plans to start international operations by the end of this year,” said Dube.
Akasa Air is looking to raise USD 75-100 million by offering fresh shares to expand its business, a report has said. The airline, founded in December 2021, wants the money to make pre-delivery payments for aircraft, the Economic Times quoted sources as saying. The Mumbai-based airline ordered 72 Boeing 737 Max, of which 19 have been delivered. The move to raise funds will dilute the Jhunjhunwala family’s 46% stake in the airline. The family holds this stake through a trust and despite the potential dilution, it will remain the largest shareholder.
The airline, which commenced operations less than a year ago, has reached out to potential investors, including PE firms and high-net-worth individuals, for raising capital. Any infusion of capital will be based on a USD 650-million valuation. US-based hedge fund PAR Capital Management is one of the names doing the rounds and may subscribe to the shares to add to its existing 6% stake in the low-cost airline. Brokerage firm ICICI Securities said on June 12 the outlook for airlines remained strong due to healthy traffic growth, declining jet fuel prices and ticking ticket values.
As per the report, the airline initially received a startup capital injection of USD 50 million from the Jhunjhunwala family, and with additional gains from aircraft sale and leaseback arrangements, the venture secured a capital base of USD 300-350 million, enabling its successful launch.