Hate boarding a flight on time and then just sitting on the tarmac endlessly while the pilot announces delays for myriad reasons? The aviation regulator may have some good news for you. According to The Economic Times, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is considering changing the way on-time performance (OTP) of airlines is calculated.
"We are discussing shifting the OTP calculation method on the basis of arrivals. This means a flight will have to arrive on time and not just depart on time to be considered on time," said a government official. If approved the proposal will bring Indian rules on par with global norms.
Currently, on-time performance of airlines is calculated on the basis of when a flight departs, which is when an aircraft pushes back from the parking stand or aerobridge. However, there are times when an aircraft does not take off for quite a while after the pushback due to reasons like technical snags or extreme weather conditions.
This inconveniences passengers since they are not allowed to disembark unless the delay is inordinately long.
For instance, just yesterday a Delhi-Pune SpiceJet flight was reportedly stuck on the tarmac for almost four hours till a snag was fixed but the passengers were deplaned over an hour later. Finally another flight was arranged to ferry the passengers.
"One of the biggest benefits of the move will be to reduce the temptation of airlines to close the doors and push back to show on-time and then hold passengers on the ground for an extended period," a senior airline executive told the daily.
However, the airline industry's response to the proposal has been mixed. While some players have applauded the move, others feel that it could end up penalising airlines even if they aren't at fault. After all, flight delays often stem from airport infrastructure constraints and air traffic control (ATC) issues, which are not in an airline's control.
Edited by Sushmita Agarwal