Indian airline Akasa Air has been told that aviation authorities will not intervene in a dispute between the company and a number of pilots who allegedly quit without serving their notice period, after Akasa took legal action against the workers. 

The authorities had been responding to a filing at the High Court of Delhi, but the airline says that its writ petition had been “incorrectly interpreted” and was not a matter against the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) or the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), but simply a plea for clarification from the court on an interim order from 2018. 

A statement said: “Since the beginning of the proceedings, our assertion in court has been that this is a ‘non-adversarial’ claim and is only in the nature of seeking clarifications and instructions to enforce an existing interim order and the Civil Aviation Regulation. 

“With the many positive steps being taken by the MoCA to make India’s civil aviation industry profitable, stable, safer, growth-oriented and progressive, it is extremely disheartening to see this distorted and incorrectly depicted version of occurrences being presented.” 

The back-and-forth follows the cancellation of over one thousand flights by Akasa in recent months after 40 of the airline’s 450 pilots quit without notice, with the company now suing those pilots. 

According to Akasa, over 600 flights were cancelled in August, approximately 18% of the airline’s usual monthly numbers, though the DGCA released data in its monthly reports that said only 1.17% of Akasa flights had been cancelled that month. 

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Akasa’s statement read: “A small set of pilots abandoned their duties and left the organisation without serving their mandatory contractual notice period, therefore forcing a disruption of flights between July and September 2023.

“In the interest of passenger convenience and an attempt to stop this unethical and illegal practice by this set of pilots, Akasa Air has sought relief from the Delhi High Court.” 

Interest in Akasa Air’s perceived struggles has also only been further driven by news that the airline is considering initiating another round of funding to raise $400m, according to Mint. 

The airline, which is almost 46% owned by the Jhunjhunwala family, has previously seen a string of successes, including receiving approval from Indian authorities to begin international flights and placing an order for four more Boeing 737 MAXs at the Paris Air Show.