Prediction of thunderstorms in Delhi on Thursday and Friday, along with partial closure of airspace at Bengaluru due to beginning of preparations of Aero India Show, is expected to disrupt flight schedules across the country over the week. Currently, owing to shortage of commanders, aircraft and weather-related issues, airlines including two of the largest ones — IndiGo and Jet Airways — have announced cancellations of a number of flights. On Wednesday, IndiGo cancelled 49 flights.
Market leader IndiGo had said on Tuesday that it was adjusted its flight schedule to cancel approximately 30 flights per day in the coming days. Jet Airways, which is facing capacity restrictions on account of aircraft grounding, said Wednesday that it will be cancelling 14 flights from February 14 to February 24 due to airspace closure at Bengaluru. Several of these are daily flights.
For the Aero India Show in Bengaluru, the airspace will be closed from 1.30pm to 4.30pm from February 14 to February 17; from 10.00am to 12.00pm and from 2.00pm to 5.00pm on February 18 and February 19; from 9.00am to 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm on February 20; and from 10.00am to 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.00pm from February 21 to February 24.
“IndiGo has informed DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) that it has cancelled 49 flights on 13th Feb. All these flights were cancelled with one to two days prior notice in order to re-accommodate passengers on flights at a similar time as booked. The cancellations on 13th Feb were caused by several factors like anticipated weather conditions on the 14th Feb and NOTAMS (notice to airmen) at various airports. This resulted in extended duty times which then made it necessary to re-roster our crew and optimize our operations,” the airline said in a statement.
“Going forward IndiGo has decided to curtail its schedule for the remaining period of Feb by approximately 30 flights a day. This is in order to stabilise its operation and adjust its crew rosters due to the reasons mentioned above. Passengers are in the process of being informed and re-accommodated. As a proactive measure IndiGo has decided to continue its curtailment until the end of March. This measure has already been implemented and passengers informed. These medium term cancellations have been made to minimise the impact on passengers as alternative travel options have been offered well in advance,” it said, adding that the 30 flights represented 2 per cent of IndiGo’s flights and that operations would be completely normalised by the start of summer schedule beginning March 31.
The 49 flights cancelled by IndiGo on Wednesday include flights on trunk routes such as Bengaluru-Hyderabad, Bengaluru-Delhi, Chennai-Delhi, Mumbai-Chennai, Hyderabad-Delhi, among others.