In November, Akasa Air, which launched two months ago, will permit domesticated dogs and cats in the cabin as well as cargo, and it will also announce new routes soon. The "well capitalised" airline intends to launch international operations in the second half of 2023 once it has a fleet of 20 aircraft. The airline now has 6 aircraft, and by the end of March 2023 will have a total of 18 aircraft.
Vinay Dube, the founder and CEO of Akasa Air, said on Thursday that the airline's performance over the first 60 days has been satisfactory. "We are very happy, satisfied with... Our performance". Currently, the carrier has 30 daily flights, will start services from Delhi on Friday. It started operations on August 7.
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According to Praveen Iyer, the airline's co-founder and chief commercial officer, the network of the company is steadily growing and linking additional locations. Domesticated cats and dogs can travel starting in November. Belson Coutinho, the company's co-founder and chief marketing and experience officer, announced during a press conference that reservations would begin on October 15 in this regard.
Every animal must be housed in an enclosure. In the case of a cabin, the weight restriction will be 7 kilogrammes, and in the case of check-in, it will be 32 kilogrammes. For heavier pets, there will be another choice. The pet policy will eventually be improved.
"We did have a lot of pet lovers asking... We all believe that we need to have an inclusive environment for pets as well. It (the decision) comes out of our love for pets," Coutinho said.
According to him, the airline will draw on the knowledge of an NGO about the transport of pets, including how to prepare, what pet owners should be aware of, and dos and don'ts. Air India among other airlines permits the travel of pets.
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Following the demise of renowned investor Jhunjhuwala, whose support alone had given the nation's newest airline a boost, the company's future course will be closely reviewed. The CEO of Akasa Air expressed gratitude for the government's Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) on Thursday and noted the importance of the aviation industry's continued recognition by the government.
"We just hope that the government's support extends to startup airlines as well. Startup airlines are operating in the same difficult environment... We will be more than happy to get any kind of government support... I don't know what is on the table. So I can't elaborate," he said.
Regarding pricing, Dube stated that the airline considers fares' affordability over a much longer time horizon and that "our opinion is that we will have a significant degree of attention on infrastructure." Around 800 people work on the airline as of right now, and 175 more are hired each month.
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(With inputs from PTI)