Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Regional connectivity: Airlines flag slot problems

Bengaluru: Non-availability of take-offs and landing slots at Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai is posing a threat to the success of the regional air connectivity (RCS) scheme, airline operators pointed out at a meeting convened by the Karnataka government on Tuesday.

Representatives of all major carriers including IndiGo, Jet AirwaysBSE 0.28 % and Air India participated in the meeting and listed the issues they are facing with regard to regional connectivity, and gave suggestions to infrast ructure minister RV Deshpande and additional chief secretary, infrastructure development DV Prasad.

The turboprops too would need peak-hour slots if regional connectivity scheme has to meet passenger needs, they said.
The second round of bidding under the regional connectivity scheme will happen next week, and the Ministry of Civil Aviation is trying to make the scheme simpler and more attractive for airline operators. The Centre and the states are consulting airline operators and compiling their suggestions before going for the second round of bidding which also involves routes to small airports in Karnataka, among the others.

The airline executives told Deshpande that since airlines deploy smaller aircraft such as ATR for RCS operations, ATRs usually take more time for take-offs compared to larger aircraft. Metro airports prefer slotting bigger aircraft to turboprops precisely because of this reason. This is a minor roadblock as well.
07/06/17 KR Balasubramanyam/Economic Times