Thursday, November 14, 2019

Govt's clean diktat to airlines: Promote Swachh Bharat, get flying rights

New Delhi/Mumbai: Play the Swachh Bharat anthem on board, ask crew to wear swachhata badge, place Swachh Bharat booklets in seat pockets. These are among the government instructions that airlines are following to step up Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship campaign. But, a competition to promote cleanliness across airports may turn out to be a clincher, especially for the prizes that winning airlines can get.

Best performing airlines could possibly be rewarded with traffic rights on a lucrative route or perhaps a prime airport slot, according to a communication sent by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to airlines and airports.
This is part of Swachh Bharat Pakhwada — a 15-day drive organised by all government ministries to promote cleanliness and sanitation. The aviation industry is, however, sceptical about the promised prizes.

“Giving away bilateral rights as prize to promote a government programme is uncalled for,” said a person attending the event. Airlines have been asked to appoint a nodal officer reporting back to the ministry regarding the activities undertaken by them, he said.

When contacted, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said the subject was under discussion. “No final decision has been taken. All aspects will be kept in mind before any decision is taken,” he said.
Bilateral rights and airport slots are a scarce and coveted resource for airlines. While bilateral traffic rights allow airlines to launch flights to foreign destinations, an airport slot is a permission to operate flights at an airport during specified hours.

There are set guidelines to allocate resource among airlines, based on demand and volume of operations.
14/11/19 Arindam Majumder Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard
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