More flights to take to the skies this winter despite economic slowdown

Indian carriers will operate 23,403 domestic flights per week during the winter schedule starting October 27, with IndiGo set to operate 10,310 flights, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The winter schedule will be in effect from October 27 to March 28 next year.

The number of weekly flights in the upcoming winter schedule is 1.2 per cent higher than the 23,117 operated during the previous winter schedule.

According to an industry estimate, scheduled carriers in India will add at least 30 aircraft till December, of which 20 will be added by the first week of November. The Tata-SIA joint venture Vistara is restarting its capacity induction programme following a lull. The airline, which expanded an average of five aircraft per year, is adding five planes this month itself. By December, it will add five more, taking its total fleet size to 41. The new acquisitions will consist of one Boeing 737 and nine Airbus 320neos.

That airlines are desperate to boost capacity. This can be gauged from Ajay Singh-led SpiceJet, which is wet leasing five Boeing 737 from Turkish airline Corendon.

The airline’s new capacity induction has almost stagnated as it still awaits to resume operations of Boeing 737 Max, which was grounded worldwide following two fatal crashes.

A senior DGCA official said 23,403 departures per week have been finalised, covering 103 airports.

There would be more flights with the addition/acquisition of aircraft by the operators during the winter schedule.
Out of the 103 airports, a scheduled domestic airline has proposed to operate to/ from Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand) and Hindon airport (UP)) as new stations, the official said.

National carrier Air India will operate 2,254 weekly flights during the latest winter schedule, an increase of 17.6 per cent compared to the year-ago period. 

SpiceJet will operate 4,316 weekly flights, a rise of 46 per cent, while IndiGo would fly 10,310 flights every week during the winter schedule. The latter is an increase of 14.2 per cent compared to the previous winter schedule.

Vistara and GoAir would operate 1,376 and 2,308 flights every week, respectively.

The official said that due to the sudden suspension of Jet Airways’ operations, there was a reduction of around 3,600 departures per week.

The departures per week have increased by 19.9 per cent in the upcoming winter schedule if the departures of Jet Airways are not included in the comparison, the official added.

Running out of cash to operate flights, Jet stopped operations in April. 

Jet had 3,247 weekly flights during the previous winter schedule.

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