Seat credit likely for regional connectivity

Seat credit likely for regional connectivity

Scheduled airlines to get a breather from move

In a move to improve regional connectivity without burdening scheduled carriers,the civil aviation ministry may allow airlines to buy seat credit from regional carriers with nonscheduled operators permit.

“We need to find innovative ways to improve regional connectivity in the country. Seat credit is one such suggestion,which we would like to implement. We have decided to form a committee to review the proposal and suggest ways on its implementation,” said a civil aviation ministry official.


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With the move,an airline will be able to provide connectivity in underdeveloped regions by buying seat credits from carriers,who can connect them through smaller aircraft. Currently,scheduled carriers are mandated to allocate a fix percentage of their flights in connecting smaller cities.

“This will not only boost connectivity but also make a business case for regional carriers,who find it difficult to operate flights to smaller destinations. Ultimately,it will improve air connectivity,” said the ministry official.


The committee hearing the issue is headed by civil aviation minister Ajit Singh,while former cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra and HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh are special invitees.

Another suggestion is to exempt airlines from paying landing,parking and navigation charges. Passenger service fee,charged to fund the cost of providing safety at the airports,would also be exempted for flights being operated to smaller destinations.

“This will not only make operations viable for airlines but also help in offer cheaper tickets to passengers. If the route does not become profitable during that limited period,it would be scrapped,” said the official.

Meanwhile,the proposal to create Essential Air Services Fund to subsidise airlines for operating flights to unviable destinations “seems to be scrapped”.