Weak air routes to be auctioned

The government is mulling auctioning of non-profitable routes to exempt carriers from flying these sectors, so far mandatory to be eligible for metro operations. Not just this, airlines will now have to pay higher fees for using airports during peak hours. These are two of civil aviation minister Praful Patel’s major reforms initiatives.

As part of the civil aviation policy, the government plans to do away with the current system of route dispersal guidelines, to be replaced with minimum subsidy biddings. This is aimed at providing subsidy support to a carrier operating at the lowest cost. For this purpose, the government will identify uneconomical routes, decide minimum capacity requirements and oversee the bidding process.

According to Patel, there is also a need to evolve differential pricing for different time-slots at major airports across the country. The maximum traffic is between 6 am-10 am and 5 pm-10 pm. Most privately owned airports globally charge a premium on peak-hour landings and take-offs that can range from a few hours to days at times.

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