Indian airlines in a tearing hurry to fit in more flights every day have received a rap on their knuckles from the aviation regulator.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked domestic carriers to have a “realistic” turnaround time (the time taken to make an aircraft ready for departure after it has landed) to avoid inconvenience to passengers. This comes after the regulator received several complaints from passengers on how airlines had been hurrying up disembarking procedures especially at the smaller airports.
“There have been instances where people with a disability are still inside the aircraft waiting to disembark and the airline allows passengers to start boarding,” said a DGCA official. “There have been several cases where airlines begin boarding while the aircraft is still being cleaned. Cases have also been brought to our notice where passengers getting off have complained that there is no place for them to step out as the ladder is already blocked by passengers who are about to board,” he said.
DGCA officials brought up this issue in a meeting on summer schedule slot coordination held on March 17 at the headquarters of the aviation ministry with airlines. Airlines were advised to “follow a realistic turnaround time in view of safety and security” considerations, said the minutes of the meeting.
“More flights mean more revenue for an airline. A higher aircraft utilization is good but not at the cost of inconveniencing passengers,” said another official.