The Delhi International Airport (DIAL) said the long-term grounding of aircraft is impacting operational efficiency. DIAL’s statement comes amid a surge in air travel resulting in record air traffic in the past week.
As many as 64 of 150 plus grounded aircraft in the country are parked at Delhi occupying over 25 per cent of the available parking space at the country’s busiest airport. The total number of grounded planes (150 plus) itself accounts for a fifth of all airline planes in the country. “The Delhi airport grapples with a significant challenge as 64 aircraft remain grounded for diverse reasons including the malfunctioning of Pratt & Whitney engines, airline insolvencies and technical issues. This accounts for over 25 per cent of the available parking space impacting operational efficiency. DIAL is actively collaborating with airlines and stakeholders to expedite essential repairs and prompt removal of grounded aircraft for efficient and reliable air services,” it said in a statement.
Bengaluru and Mumbai airports are housing 28 and 19 grounded aircraft, respectively. As many as 16 grounded planes are parked in Chennai. Fourteen of these belong to SpiceJet and one of them has been on ground since September 2020. SpiceJet has been asked to shift the grounded planes from Chennai, an airport official said.While Go First has 54 aircraft on the ground following its bankruptcy in May, IndiGo has 45 Airbus A320Neo aircraft grounded due to non-availability of engines. These are parked at various airports.
IndiGo is expected to ground another 30-40 planes in first quarter of CY2024 to carry out engine inspections.
The idle aircraft are also creating other challenges for airports. An airport earns revenue from landing and parking charges from airlines. User development fees and passenger spends also contribute to its revenue growth. Apart from revenue impact, grounded planes are also creating parking challenges.
“As of now Indian carriers have around 150-plus aircraft on the ground, largely due to supply chain and other issues. The number could cross 200 aircraft at the end of March, 2024. This is also creating a shortage of parking bays, with aircraft having to be parked at hangars and MROs across the country. If the groundings increase, parking challenges will become acute,” aviation consultancy CAPA India said in its mid-year review on Monday.
Bengaluru airport said it takes steps to ensure that grounded planes don’t impact airport operations. “There has been no major increase in number of grounded planes in last few months. We ensure that the aircraft are parked where it has minimal operational impact,” Bangalore International Airport said.