Aviation ministry proposes auctioning of airport slots

The civil aviation ministry is looking at the possibility of auctioning peak-time landing slots for overseas flights in metro cities to begin with - a move that could push up the cost of operations for cash-strapped airlines in India.

For airlines in India, already burdened with high fuel prices and other operating costs like airport charges, the new policy could be the last nail.

Detailing the policy measures that the government has already taken and proposed to introduce, civil aviation minister Ajit Singh said these are part of an overdue aviation sector reforms.

"The policies that are now in place were made several years back. Things have changed now. We need to adapt to the changing times," Ajit Singh said while speaking to the media on Friday.

Anaysts, however, fear the policy of auctioning slots for airlines would further dent competitiveness of domestic airlines.

Also, airport charges in India are already sky high -  New Delhi is the world's costliest airport, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) - and any increase in airport charges would make Indian operations unattractive for airlines.