NEW DELHI: Airlines have staked claim for distressed Jet Airways (India) Ltd’s foreign flying rights, which will be alloted in an open and transparent manner, civil aviation secretary P.S. Kharola said on Friday.
The government is allocating Jet’s flying rights on a temporary basis till the company resumes operations.
With no funds to meet expenses, Jet Airways had suspended operations a month ago and there is no sign of a credible revival scheme in sight for the airline. With the airline losing leased planes for defaulting on dues, airport slots have been reassigned to other carriers and employees have quit.
Lenders led by State Bank of India (SBI) face the risk of having to write off their dues. “We had asked airlines to confirm their requirement of (domestic) slots and (international) traffic rights...Their requests have been officially logged in. Our people will do an analysis now and we will evolve a transparent procedure based on which the rights will be given," Kharola said.
He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with senior executives of the airlines, primarily on assigning Jet’s foreign flying rights. IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and Vistara are likely to benefit from the move. Some of Jet’s domestic slots have already been assigned to other carriers. The civil aviation ministry is trying to minimize the impact of Jet’s suspension of operations on passengers.
Jet disappearing from the market, has affected the industry’s capacity and has raised airfares.
“With majority of Jet Airways slots still unused, domestic airfares remain high, showing an average increase of 15% across key sectors. International airfare for long-haul flights in May and June have also increased by 30-35% year on year," said Rajnish Kumar, co-founder of travel booking portal Ixigo.
The decrease in available seats for sale and the surge in ticket prices have brought the air travel market growth to a halt in March. Airlines carried close to 1.16 million passengers in March, a paltry growth of 0.14% from a year earlier. This is a sharp slowdown from the 18.6% growth in air traffic reported in 2018 from the previous year. Analysts said traffic growth will further moderate during the current year.
“With Jet Airways’ entire fleet grounded post 17 April, it would take considerable time for domestic airlines to make up for the extinguished seat inventory," Care Ratings Ltd said in a note on the aviation industry on Tuesday.
PTI contributed to this story.