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Akasa Air Co-Founder On International Expansion and Profitability — India Report

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Akasa Air launched in August 2022, and since then, it has expanded its network to 25 cities. The low-cost airline’s expansion plans range from international destinations to smaller Indian cities to enhance connectivity within and outside India. And its business model seems to be paying off so far.

Low-cost carrier Akasa Air is on its path to profitability and will be expanding its international network, Indian news agency PTI said quoting Aditya Ghosh, the airline’s co-founder.

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The airline that started operations less than two years, has expanded its network network to 25 destinations, including 3 international destinations — Doha, Jeddah, and Riyadh. The airline last week announced that it was set to commence operations between Mumbai and Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh from June 15.

Akasa has placed an order of 226 planes with Boeing, of which 24 have been delivered. The delivery of the remaining 202 aircraft will go all the way through to 2032.  

The airline is, however, not looking at having wide-body planes in its fleet, according to Ghosh. He said business models focusing on one type of fleet have done consistently well, as it leads to high asset utilization and cost control.

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International Expansion: The company made its international debut within 19 months of its launch. The airline has also received traffic rights for Kuwait. The airline excutives have earlier mentioned about their plans to expand to South Asia and Southeast Asia as well, while also expanding into Tier 2, 3, and 4 cities in India. 

In an earlier interview with Skift, co-founder Praveen Iyer said that the airline’s focus is on capacity-constrained markets and robust traffic flows between India and the Gulf. 

The airline has flown more than 8 million passengers since its launch, and currently has a domestic market share of 4-5%. 

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India Gets New Tourism and Aviation Ministers

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is the new Indian tourism minister in the newly-formed government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu has been named the new minister of civil aviation, taking over from Jyotiraditya Scindia. Ashwini Vaishnaw will continue to be the minister of railways.

With the Modi government coming back to power, it is expected that the policies and developmental work from the past decade would continue, even as there has been a 97% reduction in the overseas tourism promotion.

Over the past 10 years, India has been working on destination development and promoting domestic tourism. There has also been a significant increase in the number of airports in the country, more than doubling from 74 in 2019 to 149 at the beginning of the year. The regional UDAN scheme has been launched to enhance regional connectivity and make air travel accessible to smaller towns.

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Several new trains, revamping of railway stations, and modification of railway infrastructure has also been undertaken. The country is expecting its first bullet train to be functional in 2026.

Air India to Commence Direct Bengaluru-London Gatwick Flights

Full-service carrier Air India is set to commence non-stop flights between Bengaluru and London Gatwick. The service will operate five times a week and is set to commence on August 18. The airline is set to operate its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet on the route.

With this, Bengaluru has become the first Indian airport that has direct connectivity to two airports in London — Heathrow and Gatwick, the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) said in a statement. 

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BIAL chief operating officer Satyaki Raghunath said, “London is one of our busiest long-haul markets and the new service will allow our passengers to have a choice of airports in London.”

Ixigo IPO Opens, Subscribed 1.95 Times on Day 1

The IPO of online travel company Ixigo opened on Monday, after the company raised INR 3.33 billion ($40 million) from anchor investors on Friday. At the end of the first day of IPO, the company saw a decent subscription. 

The decision to go ahead with the IPO follows a period of “phenomenal growth” and strategic positioning of the company, along with the promising landscape of the travel industry, Skift has learnt.

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The company had filed for an IPO in 2021 initially and had received the regulatory approval the same year. However, it decided to delay the process. In an interview with Skift last year, Aloke Bajpai, chairman, managing director and group CEO of Ixigo said, “Most tech-listed names were trading below their IPO price in 2022, it was not the ideal environment for us to launch an IPO.”

Cleartrip Partners With Adani One For Bus Bookings

Online travel agency Cleartrip has entered into a partnership to provide a range of bus travel options to customers of travel and bill payments app Adani One. 

This will allow the Adani portfolio company’s users to access more than 300,000 bus routes and over 1 million bus connections from private as well as state bus operators. 

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Through this association, Cleartrip looks to bolster connectivity in Tier 2 and 3 markets, Ayyappan R, CEO of Cleartrip, said.

Adani One has earlier partnered with Cleartrip for flights and hotels. 

Telangana to Promote Itself as Destination Wedding Hub

The southern state of Telangana is working to develop itself as a destination wedding hub, a newspaper report quoted state tourism minister Jupally Krishna Rao. Speaking at an event, the minister said that currently, most of the weddings in Telangana were being held in function halls, convention centers, and resorts located in and around Hyderabad.

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As weddings evolve into grander affairs, there’s a growing trend to host these extravaganzas at luxury hospitality venues, an earlier Skift feature had mentioned.

As a result, the Telangana government is working to attract investors to develop tourist destinations in partnership with the private sector. India is promoting itself as a premier wedding destination on a global scale. Last month, the first “Wed in India” expo was held in Jaipur, to not just encourage Indians to host their weddings within the country but to make India the “world’s wedding destination.” The call for Wed In India was first made by Indian Prime Minister Modi in November last year to boost the domestic economy.

The 2023-2024 wedding season in India is estimated to have generated revenue worth $75 billion.

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