Thursday, June 13, 2019

These airports faced the maximum brunt of Jet Airways closure

In April, India recorded a slump in traffic for the first time after mid-2013. The month-over-month passenger traffic in domestic skies declined by 4.5 percent. For a market that has seen a growth of 20 percent on the back of rapid induction in capacity, this was a huge setback.

The setback was on the back of the suspension of Jet Airways on April 17. The airline was huffing and puffing since February and was on its last legs in March. The crisis started in October looked steady and controlled until February, after which it went into a whirlwind spiral beyond recovery.

While airlines have been quickly filling up gaps, inducting aircraft and adding flights across their networks, there are some airports which have been hit harder than others. Sectors like Mumbai–Delhi that had a considerable share of Jet Airways flights at its peak is back with nearly the same number of flights and equal or more seats (since some flights added are by LCCs with all economy configurations, leading to higher seats per flight).

But not all sectors have seen such growth. The slot distribution at Mumbai has made airlines look at strengthening their networks and not solving the connectivity woes in the true sense.

The most number of Jet Airways slots that were re-distributed among other airlines were at Mumbai and Delhi, the two most congested airports in the country and also where Jet Airways had a sizable presence. Mumbai was the only major airport where the airline had a presence higher than IndiGo. Over the years, inch by inch, competition led by IndiGo had snatched away Jet’s leadership position at Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Filing up blanks in own schedule and adding capacity on metro routes by airlines post the Jet Airways crisis have hit connectivity to some stations to a large extent and it shows in the data released by the Airports Authority of India for April 2019.
13/06/19 Ameya Joshi/CNBC TV18

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