FIVE MONTHS after Indian carrier Jet Airways stopped operations, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (MIAL) has finished allotting all domestic slots of the cash-strapped airline to various Indian carriers, but is still awaiting takers for the airline’s international slots.
A slot implies a specific date and time when a flight can depart or arrive at a specified airport.
An airport official told The Indian Express, “With most of Jet’s previous Boeing 737 aircraft being inducted by airlines like SpiceJet and Vistara and airlines being quick to capitalise on the opportunity, all domestic slots available are now full.”
“A number of international slots are still vacant and the process of plugging those gaps will take close to six months,” the official said, adding that 60 per cent of Jet’s international slots have been filled up at MIAL. Across India, 175 of Jet’s 346 international slots at AAI airports are still to be allotted to other carriers.
A number of foreign airlines are interested for the international slots at MIAL, officials said.
British carrier Virgin Atlantic has announced flights from London to Mumbai starting next month, US-based carrier Delta Airlines will connect New York and Mumbai starting December 24 and Russia’s Aeroflot and Ural Air are planning to begin services connecting Moscow to Mumbai from the second quarter of the next financial year.
Sources said the domestic slots were easily filled as many carriers had inducted Jet’s aircraft and had flying rights to those destinations.
With many international destinations, domestic airlines might not have the aircraft to operate long distances and/or flying rights to certain destinations making them difficult to fly to. Airlines such as Vistara are looking to capitalise on the London slots left vacant by Jet once they welcome first of its six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft next February.
Out of the Jet Airways’ fleet, 13 aircraft remain on the ground in Mumbai and New Delhi airports.
An official from the airline said, “There are 10 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, fully owned by Jet, which are on ground. Except one that is currently grounded in Amsterdam, which used to be a Jet Airways hub, the rest are in Mumbai and Delhi. The other three aircraft are Airbus A330 wide-body that the airline owned.”