With the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) withdrawing 186 flight slots of SpiceJet at airports across the country and putting a cap on its advance bookings, the local operation of the private airline has been cut to half.
Two of its major flights—Chandigarh-Srinagar (2.25 pm) and Chandigarh-Delhi-Bangalore (5.55 pm)—has remained suspended for the last three-four days.
The airline is left with just two 78-seater aircraft (Bombardier Q 400), operating on Chandigarh-Delhi route at 9.45 am and 7.30 pm.
A local offical, not wished to be named, said that the Chandigarh operation of the airline has been affected a lot in the last few days.
Sources said that uncertainty also looms large over the continuity of its leftover operations, especially when travel agents have stopped bookings of the airline for their clients. Their online and counter sales have also gone down since the adverse publicity of the airline gained momentum.
Mohinder Bajaj, director of Bajaj Travels, said that they have stopped making SpiceJet bookings. “We dont want to jeopardise the travel plans of our clients and have refund problems.”
SpiceJet’s counter wore a deserted look as Newsline visited the airport on Monday. The airline has over 20 employees working here, besides the ground staff crew. Many of them are worried about the company’s deteriorating financial health, overall operation as well as their future.
A employee, seeking anonymity, said, “I hope that the airline does not meet the same fate as Kingfisher Airlines.” Some have even begun sending their resumes to other airlines. Local station manager of the airline Jaimin declined to speak on this issue.
Chandigarh airport is also learnt to have put the airline on cash-and-carry mode which means that it will have to submit the advance amount for every landing and departure. Other airlines have a one-month credit facility.
Meanwhile, SpiceJet’s plan to run the Chandigarh-Dubai flight is also in limbo in wake of the financial crisis. The local airport had given an approval of running the flight from March 29, next year. However, a senior official of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that SpiceJet was unlikely to get the final clearence of DGCA to run this flight in view of the current predicament.