NEW DELHI: Jet Airways on Thursday requested the aviation ministry not to give away its international flying rights to other Indian carriers till outcome of the sale process is known by May 10.
Giving them away could impair the airline’s chance of successfully finding a buyer, Jet officials, who attended the meeting, said.
SpiceJet and Air India Express operate Boeing 737 aircraft, which were the mainstay of Jet’s fleet. SpiceJet is now planning to take up to 40 of ex-Jet B737s by June end along with slots to operate them mainly on domestic routes.
The aviation ministry had asked all Indian carriers to expedite aircraft induction as the Jet crisis has led to fares shooting up.
Some other airlines are opposing granting of slots to SpiceJet. For example, IndiGo COO Wolfgang Prock-Scahuer has written to the aviation ministry, saying: “Aircraft inductions are planned in advance by airlines and cannot be expedited at such short notice. This leaves virtually one airline with the ability to corner Jet Airways slots and entitlements, since it is the only other airline other than Air India Express to operate Boeing 737 aircraft.”
Other airlines say Jet’s slots are being given for three months only as of now. “This makes it commercially unviable for us to speedily take more planes on lease. Unless there is some medium-to long-term surety, how can an airline undertake such an expensive move like leasing planes when additional slots are being given for three months only,” said the official of another airline.
Meanwhile, after Jet’s planes and slots, a scramble has broken out for the unutilised flying rights of Jet. Indian carriers had all but exhausted their share of flights to places like Dubai, Gulf and Singapore. Now with Jet’s rights available, other airlines are eyeing them.