Air India won’t accommodate fliers from Jet’s cancelled
Air India will not accommodate passengers from Jet Airways’ cancelled flights till further notice, an Air India circular issued on Friday said.
Passengers with tickets on one airline’s cancelled flight are generally accommodated on flights of another airline headed to the same destination at the last moment under a mutual agreement. The airline whose flight is cancelled has to pay the one bailing it out within 15 days.
Officials familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity that the agreement between Air India and Jet Airways, which is facing a severe financial crisis, had been terminated.
“With immediate effect and till further notice, Jet Airways and JetLite Limited documents, including FIMs (flight interruption manifest), are not to be accepted for travel on Air India flights,” read a circular issued by Air India on Friday.
Issuing FIMs is a common practice between airlines, under which if one airline has more passengers than seats, it shifts the extra passengers to another airline at the last moment paying at a pre-agreed rate. The airline also shifts passengers if it cancels a flight. In case of a full-cost carrier, payments have to be made within 15 days; in case passengers are being shifted to a low-cost carrier such as IndiGo or SpiceJet, payments have to be made immediately in cash or RTGS (real time gross settlement).
Apart from Air India, Vistara has also backed off from accommodating stranded Jet Airways passengers as its flight cancellations were getting to be too frequent, an aviation industry official aware of developments said on condition of anonymity.
“Vistara has not had any seat-sharing or FIM agreement with Jet Airways. An interline ticketing facility has been terminated for internal reasons,” said a Vistara spokesperson not wishing to be named.
With interline facility, an airline can book tickets on another airline through the Global Distribution System (GDS). Under this system, an airline can shift its passenger to another airline even a day in advance, unlike FIMs which are for last-minute cancellations. The aviation industry official said Jet Airways was cancelling flights on a routine basis and picking up seats in Vistara at a predetermined fare, when Vistara could have sold those seats at a higher price.
“It was an emergency stopgap arrangement but Jet Airways is using it more frequently,” the official said.
Jet Airways did not reply to an email query on the matter sent on Saturday morning.
At least two dozen aircraft of Jet Airways have been grounded because of non-payment of dues, leading to about 100 flight cancellations every day. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has not taken action yet and is reviewing its flight schedule twice in a month to monitor the number of cancellations.
With a debt of about $1.14 billion, Jet Airways has been cancelling flights from/to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Port Blair. It is in talks with Etihad for additional cash infusion.