Indigo and SpiceJet will have to partially shift operations from Indira Gandhi International Airport's Terminal-1 (T-1) to Terminal-2 (T-2). The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld its single judge order accepting Delhi International Airport Ltd's (DIAL) decision to shift the operations of Indigo, GoAir and SpiceJet airlines to and from Delhi to Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Rekha Palli has now given Indigo and SpiceJet a week's time to approach DIAL on the matter, following which the authority can decide on the date to finally shift their services from T-1 to T-2. All other flights of these airlines will continue to operate from the Terminal-1.
Indigo and SpiceJet had challenged the Delhi HC's single judge order of December 20, 2017. They also accused DIAL of acting unfairly or unreasonably and said the order would cause inconvenience to its passengers. The DIAL had taken the decision on the grounds of exceeding flight operation capacity at T-1. It had informed the court that there was a strong need to decongest the airport to rid overcrowding, and carry out the renovation and the expansion of T-1.
In its December 20 order, the Delhi HC had ruled there was no illegality in the airport operator's decision to partially shift the operations of private carriers Indigo, GoAir and Spicejet from Terminal-1 (T-1) to Terminal-2 (T-2) at the IGI Airport from January 4.
"The impugned decision of DIAL cannot be said to be unilateral for the simple reason that it took this decision, on account of any of the airlines, including IndiGo, failing to respond to its repeated requests and the proposals, in as much as, the operations of the airport is the prime responsibility of DIAL, which, it seeks to discharge," the court had said, extending the deadline provided to IndiGo and Spicejet till February 15.
Initially DIAL had in January 2017 directed all three airlines, which were operating from T-1, to reach a consensus for the operations of their flights or even propose the flights that might be relocated from Terminal-1 to Terminal-2, as a temporary measure. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had also taken a strong exception of severe capacity constraints at T-1 due to the increased demand of the three low-cost carriers. IndiGo challenged the DIAL decision saying the partial shifting would inconvenience passengers, especially those on hopping flights emanating or ending at those sectors, as T-1 and T-2 are not connected. It also said if the DIAL order was allowed, the airline's operations would spread across all the terminals (T-1, T-2 and T-3). Supporting the court decision, the centre government had said IndiGo's plea was not maintainable.
Why DIAL wants airlines to move from T1
The DIAL wants IndiGo, GoAir and SpiceJet to move a part of their domestic operations from T1 to T2 because it plans to increase the capacity of T1 by 2021 - from 20 million a year to 40 million - for which it needs to free up a part of T1. Till a few months ago, T1 was operating at a capacity of 24 million. GoAir, which flies about 4 million passengers to and from IGIA, has already moved to T2, thereby bringing the capacity back to the threshold of 20 million.
With PTI inputs