NEW DELHI: The government is likely to start distributing foreign flying rights of Jet Airways among other carriers towards the end of next week if the airline does not find new owners quickly.

“We plan to award the rights to airlines which have put in requests,” said an aviation ministry official who did not wish to be identified. “The demands are primarily for destinations such as Singapore, Thailand and the Middle East,” he added.

The move is likely to worry prospective bidders for Jet who are banking on the stricken airline’s ability to retain lucrative flying rights and slots at airports.

The official added that they had a meeting with airlines on the issue and have been assured that the carriers will return the routes allocated to them when demanded by the government and Jet Airways.

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Demand-Supply Mismatch


“We would have liked to award these routes to other carriers as early as possible but we have decided to wait till Jet Airways finds a buyer, as we got requests from various quarters to not award these rights right now,” said the official.

Employees and banks have written to the government to protect the interests of Jet Airways till the time a winner is chosen. Jet received initial interests from Etihad, TPG and NIIF but none of them have initiated the process further to bid for the airline, ET had reported on Thursday.

Foreign flying quota between India and countries such as Dubai, Qatar and Singapore have got exhausted and the governments of these countries have been seeking an increase from the Indian government, which has refused to raise the quota. Foreign flying quota is measured in terms of seats per week airlines can operate.

With Jet’s grounding, a large number of seats will come back to the system and can be reallocated to other Indian carriers which can add flights on these routes.

A senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation official added that the government and the regulator’s initial focus was to stabilise domestic operations. “With new flight launches and plans, the domestic sector is stabilising but problem in the international routes is severe and these rights will need to be awarded to stabilise the situation,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Among Indian carriers flying international, Jet Airways was the second-largest after Air India and its grounding has created a huge gap in demand and supply of seats on international routes. Due to the mismatch, fares on international routes to and from India are already about 35% higher and is set to go up further with the peak travel season approaching.





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