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Govt to decide on Jet’s international flying rights soon: Aviation secretary

Govt has given domestic slots of Jet temporarily to other airlines so that they can mount extra flights and fill the void to bring down domestic fares.

, TNN|
May 15, 2019, 10.54 AM IST
The suspension of operations by Jet has left over 750 slots vacant at Indian airports.
(This story originally appeared in on May 15, 2019)
Sixteen Boeing 737s that were once in Jet Airways’ fleet are now flying for SpiceJet. And Vistara is also going to induct some ex-Jet Boeings. Aviation secretary P S Kharola, who is trying to ensure airfares return to affordable levels, said Vistara has applied for operating Boeing aircraft in its fleet for this purpose. The Tata Group-Singapore Airlines JV currently has Airbus on its airline licence.

“We are monitoring fares very closely and the spurt (post Jet crisis) has been contained. SpiceJet has applied to take up to 40 (ex-Jet) Boeing 737s. Vistara, which as of now has only Airbus on its licence, has applied to operate Boeing planes too. These applications are being processed,” said Kharola.

The aviation ministry has given domestic slots of Jet Airways temporarily to other airlines so that they can mount extra flights and fill the void to bring down domestic fares. The ministry held a meeting with Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara and GoAir to discuss how the foreign flying rights of Jet be given temporarily to them and help contain international airfares too. The airlines gave diametrically opposite views on how the same be distributed and the government is going to take a call now.

Jet was the single largest airline in terms of flying people in and out of India for the three-to-four years. Its partnership with Etihad, Air France, KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic meant Jet flying passengers between Indian cities and these airlines’ hubs at Abu Dhabi, Paris, Amsterdam and London from where they would fly toand-from rest of the world.

“We had sought airlines’ views on how to temporarily give (Jet’s) international flying rights to them and will take a decision soon. The guiding principle for us is going to be passenger convenience as per existing air services agreements with different countries,” said Kharola.

The suspension of operations by Jet left over 750 slots vacant at Indian airports. Of these, almost 480 slots have been given to other airlines. with SpiceJet getting 130, IndiGo 125, Vistara 110, GoAir and AirAsia India 40 to 45 slots each. IndiGo has got 40 of Jet’s 118 slots in Delhi and SpiceJet has got 70 of over 200 slots in Mumbai, say sources.

As of now, Air India is the only Indian airline that operates wide body aircraft on international routes like those to US, Europe, Far East and Australia. Jet used to operate B777s and Airbus A330s. Vistara is the only Indian carrier with wide body on order, with the first of its first six ordered Boeing 787 Dreamliner supposed to join the fleet next January. Sources said Vistara’s application for operating Boeing may see it inducting some of the five ex-Jet B777s.

Vistara did not offer comment on this. The aviation ministry is watching very closely how Jet’s currently underway bidding process unfolds.
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