Friday, August 12, 2016

Government may start auctioning seats for international routes by March

In an attempt to change the way it allocates seats to foreign airlines, the ministry of civil aviation plans to discuss the bilateral seat-sharing auction concept with different carriers and implement it before the revised summer schedule comes into effect by March-end next year.
India had been considering an auction process that may help protect home-grown carriers from stiff overseas competition.
At present, the number of seats an overseas carrier can fly to India is determined by bilateral agreements between the countries. Also, Indian carriers fly to only 66 of the 108 countries with which India has bilateral air agreements.
A senior official from the aviation ministry, who did not want to be named, said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)—the regulatory body for civil aviation—wants to fast-track the new process and has asked the airlines to provide details of their international schedules.
This comes in the wake of the below-par seat-capacity utilisation by Indian carriers, which is less than 40% of their entitlements while foreign carriers are utilising over 80% of their entitled number of seats, the official said.
Some foreign carriers have asked the government to increase seat entitlements or sign fresh bilateral pacts as they have exhausted their seat limits. Such a move will hurt Indian carriers who often fail to fill their quota of allotted seats and may lose even more travellers to their overseas counterparts if the latter have additional seats on offer.
12/08/16 Sanjay Singh/VCCircle
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