Wednesday, March 13, 2019

With more planes grounded, spot airfares may defy gravity

New Delhi: Aviation authorities will meet Indian carriers at 4 pm on Wednesday to figure out a way to handle the crisis caused by grounding of large number of Boeing 737 Max aircraft that is leading to significant flight cancellations and resultantly pushing up spot airfares. Aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola and DGCA chief B S Bhullar will meet airline heads to see if and how unavoidable passenger inconvenience could be kept to a minimum.

Twelve Boeing 737 Max of SpiceJet will be grounded by 4 pm Wednesday. “Consequent to the regulatory directive on the Boeing 737 MAX, SpiceJet has already initiated grounding of its MAX fleet. In order to cause least inconvenience to its passengers and also bring these aircraft to its maintenance base we expect to complete this exercise on or before 4 pm Wednesday. SpiceJet has presently announced cancellation of 14 flights for Wednesday and will be operating additional flights from Thursday.
Of the 76 planes in our fleet, 64 aircraft are in operations and we are confident of minimizing the inconvenience to our passengers and attain normalcy in our operations. While a majority of passengers affected as a result of these cancellations have been accommodated by SpiceJet on alternate flights, rest have been offered a full-refund. Safety and security of our passengers, crew and operations are of utmost importance to us and we are closely working with the regulator and manufacturer to resolve the matter.”
The groundings have only compounded with the latest crisis.
Struggling-to-survive Jet Airways has over 54 out of its fleet of 119 planes grounded. Jet founder Naresh Goyal has, in fact, warned Etihad that the airline may get grounded unless the Abu Dhabi-based carrier pumps in Rs 750 crore in Jet this week.
13/03/19 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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