Friday, December 29, 2017

GoAir seeks DGCA nod to start overseas flights with Mumbai-Maldives route in Feb

New Delhi: Twelve years after launch, low cost carrier GoAir is finally preparing to fly overseas. The Wadia Group airline has sought nod to start with Mumbai-Maldives route in February and "filed for preparedness" with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
"GoAir is doing route proving for Mumbai-Maldives (Male). While they have not indicated a firm date, GoAir has given first week of February as the tentative time for starting that flight," said a senior DGCA official. GoAir was launched in 2005 around the same time as IndiGo, SpiceJet and now-defunct Kingfisher. While its contemporaries started flying overseas almost as soon as they complied with the now abolished rule of completing five years in service and having 20 planes in their fleet, GoAir was conservative in fleet expansion and in venturing abroad.
Given its slow growth, aviation officials in Delhi say they have their "fingers crossed" on GoAir actually starting overseas flights. "They have got overseas rights for some time now. Let us see when they fly abroad," said a senior official. In mid-2016, GoAir was given flying rights to nine countries — Iran, China, Vietnam, Maldives, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
On its part, a GoAir spokesman had recently told TOI: "Our International launch has been behind schedule due to the delayed deliveries of Airbus A-320 Neos (new engine option). Now since there is clarity on future deliveries, we are evaluating various international route opportunities and will announce our launch plans shortly." GoAir, with 31 planes in its fleet currently, says it still has all the overseas rights given to it earlier.
The airline has ordered 144 A-320 Neo planes but troubles with the Pratt & Whitney engines meant slower deliveries to both the Indian airlines that had ordered this combo — IndiGo and GoAir. Apart from delaying GoAir's international launch, the delayed delivery of planes also affected the airline's domestic flights that were planned on the anticipated aircraft delivery schedule.
29/12/17 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India