Pak airspace closure, Jet Air turbulence hit flight schedules

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on April 25, 2019

Since the decline in capacity has been a slow process spread over several weeks, the capacity in Indian skies has been compensated to some extent (file photo)   -  The Hindu

Domestic carriers set to acquire more aircraft to meet shortfall

Even as international flight schedules to and from India are under pressure on account of the disruption of Jet Airways services and the closure of the Pakistani airspace, domestic fliers are likely to have an easier time as carriers are adding close to 20 aircraft in the next two weeks to fill the void created by the Jet disruption.

Aircraft induction

IndiGo is expected to induct about 10 aircraft, SpiceJet five and AirAsia and GoAir two aircraft each. Most of the Jet Air fleet of 40 aircraft have been withdrawn by the leasing companies. Officials said the Jet Air going down meant that close to 80,000 to 1,00,000 seats a day were out of the system in the domestic skies. But since the decline in capacity has been spread over several weeks between February and April this year, there has been augmentation to some extent.

Officials, however, did not give a figure of the number of seats that have been compensated for by the Indian carriers.

Airspace closure

Meanwhile, the closure of the Pakistani airspace which has been in force for over two months now after India carried out air strikes in Balakot on March 26 is still impacting international operations.

“Pakistan airspace closure has added about 90 minutes of flying time to India. This has made it non-viable for many airlines to operate to India,” an official said.

In the last few days, there has been a partial re-opening of the Pakistani airspace as one entry and exit point has been opened, giving limited relief to airlines.

Officials said it was a difficult situation as additional flights between India and other countries are decided through an exchange of air services bilaterals which is a drawn-out process. Some relief could be expected after the general elections get over on May 23 and Pakistan may decide to open its airspace again.

Till then, Air India has written to the SBI chief seeking to lease five Boeing 777 aircraft to fly on some of the international routes which Jet Airways operated on. Similarly, SpiceJet has also announced that it will induct over 20 aircraft which were earlier registered with Jet Airways.

Published on April 25, 2019

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