Ministry says Jet's slot allocation to others only temporary
The SBI-led consortium of lenders and Jet Airways employees unions had Monday urged the government to secure its international landing slots to protect its valuation.
“To reduce the inconvenience of passengers and facilitate induction of additional capacity, it has been decided to allot some of the slots vacated by Jet Airways to other airlines on purely temporary basis, for a period of three months,” the government said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
The historic rights of Jet Airways, as per provisions of the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s guidelines for slot allocation, will be protected. The slots will be made available to Jet Airways as and when it revives operations, the government said.
While the move brings relief to prospective bidders for Jet Airways, which suspended operations following a cash crunch, it may not benefit airlines planning to induct capacity to start flights in the slots vacated by Jet. Some airlines told ET they were inducting aircraft as they do not see Jet Airways reviving and the slots would remain with them.
The government said that to ensure the slots are allocated in an equitable and transparent manner, it has set up a committee of representatives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India, private operators and slot coordinators.
“This committee would be allocating slots on temporary basis only to those airlines, which bring in additional capacity (additional aircraft),” the statement added.
Some airline operators complained that allocating slots only to those bringing in new aircraft would help just a few, or rather, one airline. “This would mean that the distribution of slots to airlines will not be equitable. Airlines with more slots and more planes will get slots and the rest would not. Hence, the distribution cannot be equitable in this condition,” said an airline executive on condition of anonymity.