Government looks at providing Jet Airways’ unused airport slots to other domestic airlines

Aviation
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New Delhi: The government plans to provide unused airport slots of Jet Airways to other domestic airlines on an interim basis, a senior official said Wednesday, amid efforts to minimise flight disruptions.

Cash-strapped Jet Airways, which is looking to raise fresh funds, has grounded at least 47 planes due to non-payment of lease rentals. Besides, many aircraft are on the ground due to other reasons.

Against this backdrop, the civil aviation ministry officials on Wednesday held a meeting with representatives of various domestic airlines.

Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that domestic capacity should be increased when the season starts in April.

“We have to sit with Jet (Airways) and ask them what all are their requirements… At the airports slots are limited and they (Jet Airways) should tell us how many slots they will be using and how many they will not be using,” Kharola said.

The slots that are not being used can be offered for the additional aircraft, he added. It would be do as an “interim arrangement” at congested airports.

According to Kharola, domestic carriers would be able to add around 20-25 planes in by April end.

“Basically, (it is) a contigency plan for peak season traffic during the summer… and that we should be able to provide good service to passengers,” he noted.

Among others, representatives of Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo attended the meeting on Wednesday.

Augmentation of fleet and utilisation of existing planes were among the issues discussed during the meeting.

“Our concern is about operations (of flights), safety and comfort of passengers,” Kharola told reporters here.

Regarding Jet Airways, DGCA chief B S Bhullar said the summer schedule for the airline is yet to be approved.

In a tweet, the ministry Wednesday said it was working with all airlines to provide sufficient capacity and is monitoring safety as well as compliance levels on a daily basis.

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