More than two weeks after the aviation regulator began penalising delays in flight departure, Jet Airways, the biggest domestic carrier, decided to fall in line on Monday.
From August 4, the airline will shut its check-in counters 45 minutes before the take-off time at six busy airports, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai, a press release stated.
The boarding gates will be shut 25 minutes before scheduled departure.
Until now, Jet was the only airline that kept its check-in counters open till 30 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. Other airlines had stopped checking-in passengers 40 minutes before their departure timings. This was because from July 19, the air traffic control (ATC) officials began sending flights to the back of the take-off queue if they were not ready for taxiing 15 minutes before scheduled take-off time.
Sources told Hindustan Times that Jet did not adhere to the rule until now because its privileged clients refused to report early. As a result, many of their flights were refused take off and this delayed the journey of several passengers.
“It was affecting the company’s punctuality records, therefore revising check-in closure timing was crucial,” said an airline official requesting anonymity. In the past two weeks, Jet flights comprised 90 per cent of the flights re-slotted for missing their scheduled take-offs and those rescheduling their departures anticipating delays.
Sources also said that the airline’s senior operations staff met ATC officials on Friday to discuss if the rule could be modified.
“We asked them to write to the aviation ministry because we cannot favour a single airline,” said an ATC official requesting anonymity.