India’s newest budget carrier Akasa Air is rapidly covering all corners of the country, with its latest flights to Guwahati and Agartala in North-East India. The airline has seen steady growth in just over two months of operations and has captured almost 1% of India’s domestic market share.
On October 21st, Akasa Air started connecting Bengaluru (BLR) in South India to Agartala (IXA) via Guwahati (GAU) in the North East. The airline announced GAU and IXA as its latest destinations last month, with Guwahati being the gateway to the state of Assam and Agartala as one of the fastest-growing cities in the region.
Flight QP1323 has a scheduled departure time of 09:20 from Bengaluru, arriving in Guwahati at 12:25. After a brief stopover, it leaves for Agartala at 13:00 with an arrival time of 13:55.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha was at Agartala’s Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport to mark the occasion along with Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare and Tourism & Transport, Pranajit Singha Roy, and Kailash Chander Meena, the airport director.
The airline also consolidated its Bengaluru-Chennai (MAA) network yesterday by adding a 5th frequency between this route. Akasa now flies to eight destinations in the country.
Growth so far
Akasa Air started operations on August 7th with its inaugural flight between Mumbai (BOM) and Ahmedabad (AMD). Soon, flights between Bengaluru and Kochi (COK) were launched, and in the following weeks, it added several other cities, including Chennai and Delhi (DEL).
The airline plans to focus more on non-metro cities and is also considering parking some of its planes overnight at some of the tier-2 and 3 city airports it serves.
In August, it managed to fly 24,000 passengers at a 0.2% market share and a load factor of almost 53%. Its data after flying for the entire month of September shows that it captured nearly 1% of the market share, flying 93,000 passengers with a load factor of 81.2%.
Akasa will also allow pets to fly onboard its aircraft from November 1st and will become the second passenger airline in the country to offer this service after Air India.
Photo: Akasa Air
Demand grows in the North-East
Akasa’s decision to fly to North East India makes strategic sense as it is considered to be one of the fastest-growing regions for air travel. According to an analysis done by Mint, aircraft movement in this part of the country suggests that growth here is far greater than in other parts of India.
The report states that aircraft movement (counted as landing and take-off) in the North East increased by 36% to 7,973 flights from August 2017 to August 2022 and was higher than the growth rates in other corners of the country. In the North and South region, it was 5%, 14% in the East and just 0.5% in the West.
Akasa is aiming for 18 aircraft by March next year, and as it increases capacity gradually over the next few months, we can expect more non-metro destinations to join its growing network.
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