The decision on the slots issue at Delhi airport is likely to be taken this months even as the possible solutions are “difficult” ones, says a top Civil Aviation Ministry official. Differences have been persisting between domestic airlines and DIAL — operator of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here — over the proposal to shift operations of some carriers to terminal 2 (T2).
Discussions have been going on between the ministry, airlines and airport operator to find a way out. “The solutions which are possible are difficult solutions. Our objective is to minimise the difficulties to passengers as well as the operational inconvenience to the airlines,” Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey told PTI in an interview. “We are working on solutions to see how we can mesh all these things,” he said.
Earlier this year, Delhi airport operator had asked no- frills carriers — IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir — to shift some of their operations to T2 from terminal 1D.
Stating that the slots issue is a little difficult one, Choubey said one possible solution would be to say that all flights arriving and departing for or from a particular city, would land and take off from T2. But the difficulty would be for a flight coming to the national capital and then flying to another city. Such a situation would create operational problems, he noted.
On when a decision is likely on the slots issue, the civil aviation secretary expressed hope that it would be taken this month. “I would say that we hope to take a decision on it this month. A decision will say from when it will be effective,” Choubey said.
During a recent meeting, the airlines had told the ministry and DIAL that since there were no extra facilities like additional parking bays or slots created by the private airport operator, it would not be possible for them to relocate even partial operations to T2 till the end of summer schedule.
There are two operational terminals at the airport here — T1 and T3 — while T2 construction is over but flights are yet to start operating from there. While T1 has a rated capacity to 20 million passengers a year, the number of passengers passing through that terminal is around 24 million. IGIA is run under public private partnership by DIAL with diversified group GMR being the majority stakeholder.