The aviation regulator on Thursday asked airport operators to submit a list of take-off and landing slots not being used by airlines. The move came after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) found some domestic carriers were operating fewer flights as compared to the number of slots sanctioned them for the winter schedule of October-March 2012.
“Airport operators will give us more information about unused slots. We can use that information during distribution of slots in the next schedule,” said Bharat Bhushan. This crackdown began in the wake of Kingfisher Airlines cancelling hundreds of flights at the last minute since November 7. With more than 200 flights cancelled over the week several fliers ended up paying more to get bookings on alternative flights.
On November 14, the DGCA had issued show cause notices to the low-cost carriers Spicejet Airlines and Indigo Airlines for operating fewer flights than those for the winter period. “Airlines cannot stop using a slot without informing us,” Bhushan added.
The airlines said that slots were adopted keeping in view the ongoing induction of aircraft to their respective fleets. “IndiGo has not cancelled a single flight. The approved winter schedule is for flights to be operated up to March 2012. IndiGo currently operates 259 domestic flights daily. We will add more flights to fulfill all our approved slots,” said an Indigo spokesperson. The Spicejet spokesperson concurred. “We will induct more aircraft starting from January. The DGCA now asked us to re-apply for the slot after the new fleet is ready for operations, which we will follow.”