Fliers travelling in and out of Mumbai on full-service carriers such as Air India and Jet Airways faced more delays in October as compared to those travelling on no-frills domestic airlines.
According to civil aviation ministry data, the number of frequently delayed flights (flights delayed more than 20% of the time they were operated in a month) operated by full-service airlines were nearly three times more than the three low-cost carriers - IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet - put together.
Of the 284 flights that consistently missed their scheduled take-off and arrival time last month, almost three-fourth (73.59%) were collectively operated by Air India and Jet Airways. Of the 209 frequently delayed flights against their name, Jet Airways operated 117 flights.
Aviation experts said that until a few years ago, full-service carriers operated the bulk of flights in the domestic sector – one of the primary reasons they had large number of errant flights against their names.
But now the equation has dramatically changed.
“No-frill airlines such as Indigo and GoAir operate more than one-third of the new flights added in the winter schedule (October to March 15). That explains how a good on-time performance record could be maintained irrespective of the number of flights in an airline’s schedule,” said a senior civil aviation ministry official, requesting anonymity.
On November 4, the aviation ministry rapped AI for several flight delays and cancellations that left hundreds of fliers stranded at airports across the country. The ministry’s warning note to AI stated that a three-fold problem of pilots’ shortage, poorly maintained aircraft fleet and overbooking of many of its flights.
Jet Airways also has been facing protests from a section of its pilots after it decided to phase out its low cost arm JetLite and induct its cockpit crew in the flagship airline.