New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) A day after Jet Airways temporarily suspended all flights, the government on Thursday asked domestic airlines to advance their aircraft induction plans for capacity augmentation and to keep air fares in check.
Apart from fleet induction, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has formed a committee comprising airport operators, Airport Authority of India and DGCA to temporarily re-allocate Jet’s slots.
The development comes after Civil Aviation Secretary convened two separate meetings, one with airport operators and the other with the airlines to coordinate and address issues on capacity, slots and passenger convenience.
Briefing the media after a series of meetings, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that with grounding of Jet a” 280 slots in Mumbai and more than 160 slots in Delhi a” are left vacant.
The slot re-allocation committee will meet next week to take the process forward.
“This will be an interim allotment of three months only and after that depending on situation these slots can be extended,” Kharola said.
“These allocations will be done in a very rational, transparent, fair and equitable manner… the preference would be given to those airlines which bring in extra planes.”
According to Kharola, in the last 5 months Jet grounded 75 aircraft, whereas other airlines inducted 58 planes thereby leaving a deficit of 17.
“All airlines have said that in the months of May, June and July they will be able to induct more than 30 planes,” Kharola said.
The official further said that some airlines are in talks with lessors to induct 20-30 grounded aircraft of Jet Airways and that these are expected to be finalised within next week.
In addition, the secretary said that domestic airlines have been strictly advised not to indulge in predatory pricing and to keep air fares affordable.
He added that Jet Airways has been asked to provide the number of tickets it had booked and other related information by Monday.
This comes a day after Jet Airways announced temporary suspension of all its flight services from Wednesday night as it failed to secure interim funding for maintaining even bare minimum operations.
On its part, Jet in a regulatory filing on Wednesday said that the state-run State Bank of India (SBI) told the airline that its consortium of lenders are unable to consider the private carrier’s request for critical interim funding.
“Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going,” the filing said.
“Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights. The last flight will operate today (Wednesday).”