Thursday, December 09, 2021

Decongestion move: No small aircraft to and from Delhi for two months from December 15

The government is pushing airlines to change flight timings to prevent overcrowding at airports. It has also asked them to stop operating smaller ATR and Bombardier Q400s aircraft to and from Delhi for two months starting December 15, said people with knowledge of the matter.

Some flight timings have been changed but airlines are said to be resisting too many alterations to the schedule. They also say any ban on smaller planes will lead to a closure of stations such as Kullu and Dharamshala.

The aviation ministry wants carriers to ensure that too many flights don't arrive or depart around the same time. "As part of the exercise, flight timings will be changed and this will ensure too many passengers do not clog airports upon arrival during the same time," said a senior government official, who didn't want to be identified. "Not just that, we have decided to ensure flight schedule approvals in the future will be done to ensure many flights do not arrive and depart at the same time."  

The government expects these measures to ease crowding. Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia is said to be monitoring the situation after complaints of airport overcrowding on social media.

Airlines say it will be impossible to tweak flight timings in the middle of the winter schedule. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) divides the year into summer and winter flight schedules.

09/12/21 anirban Chowdhury & Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

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