Beleaguered grounded airlines Jet Airways’ testing time continues as the government now looks to re-allocate the airline’s foreign flying rights to competitor carriers including IndiGo, Air India, and SpiceJet. Civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola chaired a meeting held on Friday with Directorate General of Civil Aviation officials and senior airline executives to discuss the matter.
The decision shows the government’s intent to have other local airlines operate on foreign routes where Jet Airways has ceased operations because of lack of funds, IANS reported.
Redirecting rights on international routes would mean additional capacity on important sectors and hence would bring fares down. However, it will significantly hit Jet Airways’ valuation.
The local carriers are eyeing lucrative sectors including Mumbai to Paris, Mumbai to London, and Delhi to Dubai and are now looking at slots to be distributed by the government on these routes, IANS cited official sources.
SpiceJet and Air India are aiming for flights to Dubai while Air India is also interested in increasing number of flights on Mumbai-London route. Another route being eyed by airlines is Delhi-Singapore, a private airline executive said. However, the rights would be given to airlines on a “temporary basis”, the executive added.
Ministry of Civil Aviation has sought fleet induction plans of airlines in order to arrive at a fair decision on issuing traffic rights. The ministry might decide on temporary allocation in “two-three days,” the executive said.
For domestic routes, SpiceJet has acquired a majority share of Jet Airways’ slots and has enhanced flights to quite an extent from Mumbai and Delhi where Jet Airways once had a strong presence.
SpiceJet has announced 77 flights since April 1 including 48 flights connecting Mumbai, 16 flights connecting Delhi, and 8 flights between Mumbai and Delhi.
The ministry has reiterated that allocation of flying slots is temporarily for three months highlighting that Jet Airways’ historic rights will be protected. Airlines bringing additional planes would be preferred.