Mumbai/New Delhi: After posting a loss of Rs 298 crore in the last quarter, Jet Airways has sought government clearance to scale down its flights to the northeastern region by about half to stem the losses.
The airline, which currently operates around 38 daily services in several northeastern destinations, has written to the Civil Aviation Ministry to allow it bring these operations down by nearly 50 per cent, sources said, adding there has been no response from the Ministry on the matter as yet.
Operations in the northeast are guided by the government's Route Dispersal Guidelines (RDG) which entails that all Indian carriers fly to the northeast and other remote parts of the country, more so as a social obligation.
The airline wrote to the Civil Aviation Ministry after it posted a loss of Rs 298 crore in the last quarter.
Recently, a panel headed by Air India CMD Rohit Nandan, reviewed and recommended the revision of RDG. The panel made it mandatory for the airlines to deploy a certain minimum percentage of their passenger carrying capacity or available seat per kilometre deployed on major trunk routes onto smaller cities and towns.
Justifying its move to approach the Ministry, a top Jet officer said that the northeastern region had "a huge over-capacity and any reduction in the services there would not have any bearing on the connectivity.
"When the guidelines were first formulated in 1994, there were only 28 flights a week flying in the Northeast. Today there are 378 flights a week, which represents over 1000 rpt 1000 per cent per cent increase in the number of flights. So, there is a huge over-capacity on these routes."
"What Jet has asked for from the government constitutes hardly a fraction of this capacity," he said, adding that "at a time when all airlines are bleeding due to flying on sectors which have less than 40 per cent load factor, it is devoid of economic rationale to operate there".
"We waste precious commodities such as fuel and foreign exchange for aircraft, engine parts etc by flying on such sectors," the Jet officer said.