Jet Airways has close to 400 unused departure slots in India, 80 of which are in Mumbai and Delhi, the two busiest airports in the country
Amid tensions of rising airfares on high-density domestic routes in the last one month, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) met with representatives of major airlines. The regulator has refused to allow the carriers to fly on trunk routes that Jet Airways had to vacate because of its financial distress.
This was because these airlines were pulling out aircraft from less profitable routes and using them on Jet Airways' slots. The regulator has told carriers that they cannot launch any new flights unless they grow their fleet size.
Sources told The Economic Times that airlines believe this is not the DGCA's call to make. They think it contradicts the government's idea to get other airlines to fill up Jet Airways' spots, which is now down to six planes, to keep airfares from rising.
Some airlines had already announced routes from Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and other destinations. This new order means they would have to cancel those flights. This will drive up the ticket prices further, which are already too high.
"Some airlines want a change in approved summer schedule by withdrawing flights from remote/sensitive sectors and putting them on selected sectors. While not changing an already approved schedule, the DGCA always approves any additional schedule on priority (but not at the cost of other flights)," a senior DGCA official told the newspaper.
Moneycontrol couldn’t independently verify the report.
The most impacted airlines by this order will be Vistara and AirAsia India, but SpiceJet may be in luck as it recently added 16 Boeing 737s to its fleet along with five Bombardier Q400s. IndiGo (Interglobe Aviation) is also getting new planes, so it will remain unaffected.
"The key question is: how can they determine commercial decisions made by airlines? How does it help to prevent them from adding capacity where Jet Airways has vacated? How does it help by forcing them to cancel flights that were added and are heavily booked?" the article quoted an industry executive as saying.Jet Airways has close to 400 unused departure slots in India, 80 of which are in Mumbai and Delhi, the two busiest airports in the country.