Akasa Air Battles Pilot Exodus: CEO Vows Legal Action amid Flight Chaos
IANS 20 September 2023
A small set of pilots abandoned their duties and left without serving their mandatory contractual notice period, it forced a disruption of flights between July and September, necessitating last minute cancellations that stranded customers and caused inconvenience to the travelling public, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Akasa Air Vinay Dube said in a mail written to its employees.
"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 regulation. 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 letter, a copy of which is in possession of IANS.
The CEO claimed that for the first 11 months of operations, Akasa Air has been India’s most on-time airline with the lowest cancellation rates.
"The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has documented our leadership in these two critical areas for several consecutive months," Mr Dube said.
"Some people have questioned whether it is employee centric to seek legal remedy against former employees. Since these acts (pilots resignation) have caused disruption and disrespect to the great work done by our current employees, the most employee centric thing we can do is to remain fiercely protective of your future and the promise we have made to our customers," he added.
"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.
On Tuesday, Akasa Air told the Delhi High Court that it faces the necessity of cancelling a substantial number of flights, approximately 600-700, during the month of September.
This predicament arises 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 Rs22 crore to account for the loss of revenue caused by grounded aircraft and flight cancellations.
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
2 months ago
Service bonds are pointless and unworkable. And bond periods of 6-12 months are absurd - more a restraint of trade than anything else. News reports suggest that the Akasa pilots who left for greener pastures paid their bond amounts; if so, the airline has no case and can only blame itself for its lack of foresight. If the bond was not paid by any pilot, Akasa's recourse is limited to enforcing the bond. Not the absurd amounts they have claimed. Seriously, would anyone want an unhappy pilot operating a plane???
2 months ago
Popcorn time!
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