Industry

Airlines free to change N-E flights

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Airlines will be free to withdraw or change flights to and within north-eastern states, island territories and Ladakh as per their business requirements, according to the new civil aviation policy of the government.

The move might come as a big relief to airlines that may re-deploy its planes to profitable or viable routes.

At present, airlines need to take permission from the Civil Aviation Ministry to withdraw routes from these regions, largely because these were unconnected routes in the past. With the new norms, the airlines will only need to inform the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation three months in advance before withdrawing or revising its routes. The airlines can do so provided they fully comply with the route dispersal guidelines (RDG) that mandate them to deploy a certain share of flights on smaller and remote routes.

“A critical aspect of the RDG policy that is often ignored is that an existing Indian carrier cannot reduce any of its currently deployed capacity to add international flights,” the Federation of Indian Airlines had said in a statement on February 24.

In another relaxation to flying norms, the airlines will be mandated to serve 35 per cent of the flight it deploy on metro routes on non-metro and non-remote routes rather than deploying 50 per cent of its capacity at present.

“Since the regional connectivity scheme serves similar purpose, we do not wish to burden the airlines too much so we brought down the proportion,” Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey explained the rationale behind the move.

The new route dispersal guidelines will come into effect from winter schedule of 2017.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 9:11:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/Airlines-free-to-change-N-E-flights/article14426028.ece

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