Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mumbai unserved, underserved airports: Low-cost carriers want to operate more flights

Mumbai: Low-cost air carriers are demanding additional slots from the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), which manages Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The demands come six months after flights to unserved and underserved airports under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) took off from the Mumbai airport. Operating at maximum capacity at present, MIAL officials said it was unlikely to offer additional slots right now. While underserved airports are those which do not have more than a flight a day, unserved airports are those where there are no operations.
Hoping to increase the popularity of their flights to these underserved airports, airlines sought convenient flight timings. At present, Mumbai airport offered eight slots under UDAN to airlines, including TruJet, Air Deccan and SpiceJet. While occupancy on these flights is promising, airlines want to expand their services. Air Deccan, which operates flights to Nashik, Kolhapur and Jalgaon from Mumbai, wants better slots. “We see 70 per cent occupancy on flights that operate from Mumbai to Nashik and almost around 80 per cent occupancy while flying to Kolhapur and Jalgaon. We would like to get additional slots to increase frequency of flights to Jalgaon and Kolhapur,” an Air Deccan official said.
Air Deccan operates one 18-seater ATR flight to connect the RCS routes out of Mumbai. While a Kolhapur-bound flight from Mumbai leaves the airport at 1.15 pm, it reaches Kolhapur at 2.45 pm. It departs from Kolhapur on the same day at 3.05 pm. Air Deccan also wants to increase frequency of Mumbai-Kolhapur flights from three to six days a week.

“We are operating with a single airplane and have accepted the slots given to us by MIAL. Being congested, the airport is unable to provide additional slots at present. As we plan to operate 72-seater planes in future, convenient slots can help us make the flights popular,” the official added.
29/04/18 Neha Kulkarni/Indian Express