New Delhi: In an attempt to de-congest traffic at the country's airports, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has proposed that domestic carriers reducing their fleet size be asked to surrender aircraft parking slots at airports. The move will help accommodate other airlines, particularly budget carriers. The proposal is aimed at all carriers that have sold or leased aircraft in recent times.
In the past the government has rejected proposals by several non-scheduled airlines to import aircraft due to unavailability of parking slots at the Mumbai and Delhi international airports. Civil aviation ministry officials have indicated that airlines that have sold or dry-leased aircraft for a period of 2-3 years may be asked to surrender parking slots. In case of a wet lease for a period of six months, they may be allowed to retain their slots.
The move by the AAI comes with domestic carriers either selling or leasing out nearly 50 aircraft over the past one year.
While older airlines are the ones who are mostly downsizing their aircraft inventories, paradoxically they are also the ones holding most of the parking slots. Newer airlines are at a disadvantage, being forced to park their aircraft at far-flung cities at night. As they fly in to metro destinations in the morning to commence operations they face escalating costs.