Regulator monitors air fares, flight cancellations

The cancellations in scores made by Kingfisher Airlines has resulted in rival carriers jacking up the spotfares–economy classes by about 10 per cent and business classes by 15 per cent.

The cancellations by Kingfisher has forced the passengers to rush to other airlines at the airport to catch the flights for their respective destinations. Seeking to ma­ke a kill of the opporunity, several airlines have hiked their spotfares, especially those on key metro routes.

DGCA chief Bharat Bhu­shan said that he had received reply from Kingfisher and other airlines over cancellations. On canc­ellations by the Kingfisher, which is about 50 a day, he said about 35 per cent of the airline’s flights have been cancelled.

“They replied saying they have plans to reconfigurate 30 aircraft and that only th­ree of them are being redone at any given time, that it would take a total of four months to refit all these aircraft,” Bhushan said.

The DGCA wondered if three aircraft were cancelled th­en it could not have am­ounted to one third of its fl­eet being taken off the runway.

“Ï  have sought further clarification,”he added.There were also reports of flights of other airlines like IndiGo and SpiceJet being cancelled. However, an IndiGo statement said that it would fulfil its winter’s schedules as more of its aircraft join the fleet. However, Bhushan said airlines could not keep their slots vacant as others would need it.

“Of the two airlines whose winter schedules were approved, we have found  that the  airlines had not used them. If they don’t fly they should not occupy those slots, other will,” Bhushan said.

Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Agarwal said: “We decided to reduce frequency in some of the routes where we had multiple flights like Delhi-Mumbai or low passenger load like  Nanded, Mysore etc.” This exercise was part of route rationalisation to improve profitability and revenue productivity of the flights, he said.

To questions on alleged exodus of pilots and cabin crew from the airline, Agarwal said: “There is a process of natural attrition. Pilots and other staff come and go. If you put the number of pilots who have left in over 7-8 months, it could be 100.
“This has not happened all of a sudden as is being projected. Not a single Kingfisher flight has been cancelled due to shortage of crew as is being reported. We have over 650 pilots on our rolls now,” he claimed.

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