IndiGo seeks government intervention on stalemate over Delhi

 PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: October 17, 2017  | 08:33 IST
IndiGo seeks government intervention on stalemate over Delhi

IndiGo sought the ministry of civil aviation's intervention in the issue of Delhi airport operator DIAL asking the low-cost carrier to shift one-third of its operations from terminal 1 to terminal 2, calling the directive "arbitrary, illegal and mala fide".

In a letter written to the ministry as well as the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), IndiGo has also demanded that DIAL "reconsider and withdraw" its order asking the airlines to shift some of their flights to terminal 2 (T2).

The ministry had written to the airlines in June, asking them to arrive at an amicable solution over relocating of flights, failing which it said that the airport operator was authorised to take a decision which would be "binding" on them.

The letter from IndiGo follows the order from DIAL asking GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet to shift one-third of their operations.

GoAir, however, recently announced that it was moving its entire operations to the new terminal.

"The unilateral decision by DIAL to allow one airline (GoAir) to shift its entire operations from terminal 1 to terminal 2, while at the same time directing two other airlines (SpiceJet and IndiGo) to relocate in part...is arbitrary, illegal and mala fide," wrote IndiGo President and Whole Time Director, Aditya Ghosh, in the letter addressed to Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey and DIAL CEO I Prabhakara Rao.

He said that the move results in "hostile discrimination" and causes "prejudice" and inconvenience to passengers travelling from certain airlines.

When the DIAL started discussions with airlines on shifting of flights from terminal 1 (T1) to T2 in January this year, it had put forth three options -- shift one airline, relocate some flights of all three airlines, reduce flights in peak hours by 20 per cent for all three airlines at T1 and shift them to non-peak hours in T2.

IndiGo also argues in its letter that since GoAir has agreed to move entirely to the new terminal, the first option offered by DIAL has been satisfied and IndiGo and SpiceJet should not be asked to shift some of their flights.

"In these circumstances, there was no occasion for DIAL to assume authority and to exercise discretion in order to arbitrarily impose its option 2 of split operations on the remaining two airlines, i.e. SpiceJet and IndiGo," the letter says.

Ghosh says in the letter that IndiGo was willing to shift completely to T2 if DIAL could provide additional bussing gates and adequate night parking bays but the airport operator said these were not "feasible".

IndiGo, in the letter, argues that if it shifts some of its flights to T2 it would be operating out of three terminals at Indira Gandhi International Airport, which will put it at a "competitive disadvantage" and "shift the level playing field" as compared to the airlines that have all their flights from a single terminal, i.e terminal 3 (T3).

The move, according to IndiGo, will discriminate between passengers and airlines and is therefore "arbitrary and illegal".

In the letter, Ghosh writes that relocating flights by October 29 will not be possible for it as it has a large number of advance bookings for the month of October. It has also sought at least 120 days to implement a "mutually acceptable plan" on relocating of flights.

IndiGo had last week also written to SpiceJet seeking its support in resolving the stalemate over shifting of flights, asking it to shift fully to T2. It said alternatively, DIAL should look at re-organising operations of all airlines so that each can run complete operations from one terminal.

IndiGo operates 306 flights daily and serves 40,059 passengers to and from Delhi.

According to estimates, SpiceJet operates 90 flights and caters to 17,000 passengers daily from Delhi. GoAir has 67 flights approximately and handles 12,060 travellers per day in and out of Delhi.

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