New Delhi: Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) plans to make it mandatory for airlines operating in the country to report the time of arrival and departures of their flights, and delays, if any.
The data will be published along with the passenger data monthly.
DGCA has asked all airlines to submit a detailed fortnightly report on the on-time performance of their flights. This data will be collated to analyse the reasons for delayed flights at various airports in the first effort such a monitoring mechanism will be put in place.
In 2007, briefly, the regulator had instituted a system of random checks to ascertain the reasons for flight delays when the airlines had started levying an air congestion charge on tickets to compensate for the extra aviation fuel burnt when planes circle over crowded airports awaiting permission to land.
Airline performance: DGCA has asked all airlines to submit a detailed fortnightly report on the on-time performance of their flights. Madhu Kapparath / Mint
In India, on-time performance is defined as a flight taking off or arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.
“Airlines say there is congestion; flights are getting delayed. Then you have airport operators who complain airlines are not operating flights (on time) leading to (cascading) delay. So we have decided to monitor the on-time performance of the airlines and find out what is effecting these delays,” said a DGCA official, who did not want to be identified.
An airline confirmed the DGCA move. “There is no harm in the public being aware of a carrier’s on-time performance. This will showcase the inherent efficiency of the airline,” said Paramount Airways Pvt. Ltd managing director M. Thiyagarajan.
In the past few months, DGCA has tightened ticket rules asking airlines to reflect airfare details due to growing consumer complaints over differences in advertised fares and actual ones.
But data collection alone may not help unless it is verified from air traffic controllers and through random checks by DGCA, said an analyst.
“The benefits that the system can provide by its continued, honest and proper implementation is strongly dependent on the players, primarily the airlines but also the airports and ATN (air traffic navigation) services, providing accurate and timely data. This aspect could be compromised by the data providers and will require constant monitoring to ensure accuracy,” said Robey Lal, former country head for International Air Transport Association and a retired Airports Authority of India board member. Lal said the regulator should “appoint independent monitors, to complement DGCA’s own staff at many of the large and busy airports”.