SpiceJet chief meets DGCA on the OTP issue

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By Team DefenceAviationPost

Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet met the DGCA chief BS Bhullar on Tuesday and expressed serious concern over the aviation regulator setting up a committee to look into how On-Time Performance (OTP) is calculated at major metro airports following a complaint by an airline.

Giving vent to the airline industry’s displeasure on the issue, Singh is learnt to have questioned on why the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had set up a committee when one airline, which had been on top till a few months back, had slipped in the ranking.

IndiGo has accused the Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) of monitoring OTP in a way that shows some “competing airlines” as more punctual following which DGCA formed a panel to investigate the allegation. Many airlines are worried with the aviation regulator succumbing to IndiGo’s “unjustified” demands. SpiceJet has had the best OTP for past many months now.

“As long as IndiGo had the best OTP, the mechanism to calculate on-time performance by the DGCA and airports was perfect. In fact, OTP was their USP and they ran advertisement campaigns like “on time is a wonderful thing” citing this very data. Now, for many months when their OTP has been the poorest, they are questioning the DGCA mechanism to calculate OTP itself! As long as you were No 1 the mechanism was fine, now it is flawed. These are clear double standards,” said an airline official.

“Tomorrow, if an airline questions the passenger traffic data, will the DGCA constitute a committee to investigate that too?” questioned another airline official.

The data collection system at airports like Mumbai has been in place for many years.

Sources said the DGCA chief has assured that the regulator would carry out a fair evaluation. “Airline representatives will also be included in the committee formed to look into the OTP issue,” said an official.

Last month, ICICI Securities, the investment banking arm of the ICICI Bank, had in a report said that IndiGo’s OTP was likely to remain under pressure in the current fiscal as it adds more aircraft in the remaining period. IndiGo witnessed a sharp decline in its OTP from four major airports to 72.4 per cent in November 2016 from 81.2 per cent the previous month, lowest in more than last two years. “While this could be due to fog related disruptions in the winter, with even higher capacity addition planned during the remainder of FY17, the OTP could remain under pressure for IndiGo and will be keenly watched,” ICICI Securities said in its report.

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