Monday, March 08, 2021

Jet Airways can't claim historical right over slots: Aviation ministry

Mumbai: Jet Airways cannot claim historical precedence over airport slots, civil aviation ministry and the DGCA have said in an affidavit before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

The ministry and the civil aviation regulator have said the government will consider the airline’s request for slots as per existing policy. However they have opposed successful bidder Kalrock-Jalan consortium’s plea for mandatory approvals.

“As per the slot allocation guidelines issued in May 2013 the ‘use it or lose it’ rules define the historical precedence which is only granted for a series of slots. Jet Airways has not applied for slots for the last three consecutive seasons and hence does not qualify for claiming the benefits of historical precedence,” the ministry and DGCA said in a joint affidavit.

Jet Airways shut down in April 2019 following a cash crunch and is under insolvency since June of that year. The airline’s slots and traffic rights were then allocated to other airlines enabling them to fill up capacity vacuum and launch new services.

In its earlier affidavit in December 2019 the ministry had said its slots and traffic rights were allocated to other airlines in larger public interest and purely on a temporary basis. However, the government’s latest affidavit which was filed today is silent on the issue.

The ministry said allocating slots to revived Jet Airways would not be an issue in view of upgradation of existing airports and construction of new airports including Jewar, Mopa and Navi Mumbai. “This capacity creation through new airports and expansion of capacity at existing airports will be helpful in allocating fair number of slots to resolution applicant (Kalrock-Jalan) by the competent authority,” it said. Slots are not assets of Jet Airways and no mandatory directions should be issued in respect to their allocation, the ministry and DGCA said.

08/03/21 Aneesh Phadnis/Business Standard

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