New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said airlines have been adding new planes to their fleet since March to help bridge the gap left by crisis-hit Jet Airways (India) Ltd and the Boeing 737 Max ban.
Eight new aircraft have recently been inducted by airlines and three more are expected in about a week, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola told reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday. Ten more new planes are likely to be added by the end of May to cater to demand during the summer vacations, said Kharola.
India's aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which held a meeting with airline executives Tuesday, has called for another separate meetings with airlines and airport operators on Thursday to evaluate the situation on fares and flight capacity, the civil aviation secretary said.
DGCA on Tuesaday told industry executives to make sure that the recent capacity reduction does not lead to a spike in fares during the summer season. DGCA has noticed fare prices surging by 10-30% in some sectors of the industry.
On Tuesday, Jet Airways operated five aircraft, the secretary said, a fraction of the 119 planes the airline was flying in the pre-crisis era.
According to a DGCA official, the aviation regulator has asked airlines to keep a check on air fares. "Airlines were advised to continue to monitor at their level and provide information to the DGCA to keep fares low as far as possible," said the official in know of developments at the DGCA meeting.
Airline representatives have agreed to shift seat inventory from higher priced buckets to lower ones. DGCA wants to ensure that the liquidity crunch that curtailed operations at Jet Airways do not engulf the entire aviation industry.
"The DGCA will continue to monitor fare movement on a daily basis and engage with airlines for appropriate action," the official said.
The government wants to avoid a spike in air fares due to the Jet Airways crisis as it could give rise to questions on its management of the economy amid polling for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.