Taking a note of the effect of financial woes on Jet Airways’ operations, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) approved the airline’s winter schedule in two parts, a senior official at the regulatory authority said Wednesday. “Out of the six-month long winter schedule, we only cleared a month’s schedule for Jet Airways. Later, only after assurance from the airline on availability of sufficient capacity and manpower, on November 15 we approved the schedule for the remaining five months,” the official said.
The Naresh Goyal-promoted full-service carrier has delayed salary payments to its staff, and on Sunday, the airline cancelled several flights after some of the pilots reported “sick” over non-payment of their dues. The official cited above said that the regulator will observe the frequency of cancellations, and will act upon it only if they are repetitive. “The airline has not reduced any flights from their previous schedule. In fact, the number of flights is a little bit more,” he added.
The winter schedule for airlines is from last Sunday of October till last Saturday of March. DGCA monitors operations of an airline through a systematic procedure of surveillance, regulatory audits and spot checks. While the regulator follows an annual schedule for conducting safety audits and checks for airlines, it has increased the frequency of Jet Airways’ audits to check if the airline is not compromising on safety to control its costs. Jet Airways operates around 124 aircraft, including Boeing 777s, Airbus 330s and Boeing 737s.
Last month, Jet Airways CEO Vinay Dube said the airline was in active discussions with various investors to secure sustainable financing and cost optimisation efforts have resulted in savings worth Rs 500 crore in the first half of the current fiscal. In a mail to the airline’s customers, Dube noted that safety “will be sacrosanct” for Jet Airways.
Earlier this week, Jet Airways said it has added 65 new weekly services to its domestic and international operations. Meanwhile, the company also announced stopping of free meals for most of its economy class passengers. The airline said it will offer free meals only to its frequent flyers holding platinum and gold membership and to those booking tickets under the economy ‘flex’ option, for which the fare is typically higher than other economy options.