Huge losses, rising fuel cost force flights reduction

This winter could be tough for flyers, particularly those planning travel on various circuits, as Indian carriers have decided to reduce flights by 19 per cent compared to last year thanks to large-scale losses in the aviation sector and rising cost of aviation turbine fuel.

However, no-frills airlines are likely to increase their flights during the busy season October 28-March 31, according to a schedule approved and released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation here on Wednesday.

Full-service carriers, Air India and Jet Airways, along with their no-frills subsidiaries Alliance Air and JetLite, would operate lesser number of flights, while all no-frills airlines — IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir — would significantly increase flights and augment capacity this season.

The flight schedule of the beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines has not been approved by the DGCA. It has declared a lockout till October 20 as its employees, including engineers, are on strike demanding payment of pending wages. The airline last year operated 2,930 flights.

10,935 departures weekly

In all, 10,935 departures per week have been approved — i.e. 1,562 daily departures to and from 73 airports. The total number last year was 13,541.

While Air India-Alliance Air would operate 2,169 flights compared to 2,313 last year, Jet Airways-JetLite would together fly 3,369 services compared to 3,780 in 2011.

IndiGo would operate 2,447 flights, up from 1,879, SpiceJet 2,233 (2,051) and GoAir 675 (588). Religare's Air Mantra, a new scheduled regional airline operating in the north since July 2012, would operate 42 flights.

Pact with Kiwis

Meanwhile, India and New Zealand have decided to promote and develop training and technical cooperation in the civil aviation sector, including accepting each other’s aeronautical products and licences.

A document, “Arrangement for Cooperation on Civil Aviation,” was signed by Civil Aviation Secretary K.N. Shrivastava and New Zealand High Commissioner Jan Henderson in the presence of Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh and New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development and Tertiary Education Steven Joyce here on Wednesday.

The arrangement provides for exchange of experts or instructors for training, acceptance of licences and aeronautical products and aviation services.

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