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Friday, December 1, 2023

Airline warns shutdown; Indian aviation won’t intervene

India’s aviation authorities have declined to intervene in the ongoing dispute between Akasa Air and its pilots. Over 40 of Akasa’s 450 pilots resigned without notice in recent weeks, leading to 632 flight cancellations in August.

The airline has sued some of these pilots and challenged Indian authorities in court for not addressing alleged pilot “misconduct.” Akasa has even warned of a potential shutdown due to the crisis.

Akasa argues that its contractual obligations with pilots remain valid, and it is suing the regulator for not intervening in the public interest. However, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the aviation ministry have stated in a legal filing at the Delhi High Court that the DGCA lacks the authority to interfere in employment contracts.

Akasa had previously mentioned discussions with the DGCA but has not commented on this new filing. The DGCA has denied the airline’s claims that pilot resignations led to significant flight cancellations, citing a cancellation rate of only 1.17% in August.

The Federation of Indian Pilots, with 6,000 members, has also responded, calling the flight cancellation numbers “unsubstantiated” and asserting that the DGCA cannot intervene in the dispute.

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