Airlines’ executives today held detailed discussions with Civil Aviation Ministers and senior ministry officials about the regional connectivity scheme and issues pertaining to terminals for carriers at the Delhi airport. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and his junior Jayant Sinha as well as Civil Aviation Secretary RN Choubey and other officials were part of the meeting. Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani, SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh, GoAir Managing Director and CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, IndiGo President and Whole Time Director Aditya Ghosh as well as representative from Jet Airways were among those in attendance.
Choubey said RCS (regional connectivity scheme) and issues related to terminal 2 of the Delhi airport were discussed during the meeting with the airline officials. Earlier this year, Delhi airport operator had asked no-frills carriers — IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir — were asked to shift some of their operations to terminal 2 from terminal 1D. However, differences have been persisting over the matter between the airlines and the airport operator.
About the issues pertaining to terminal 2, Choubey said several rounds of discussions have happened. “We are taking the process forward… Today, there was one more round of discussions,” he said without providing specific details. Before taking a decision, the requirements of the airlines, airport and the passengers have to be kept in mind and those requirements have to be matched, Choubey noted.
After the meeting, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said, “we have to find a way to use the two terminals at the Delhi airport…. We are trying our best on how to find a pathway taking into account the Delhi airport’s master plan”. Meanwhile, to provide connectivity to unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying more affordable, the government has unveiled the ambitious regional connectivity scheme (UDAN) — Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik.
In order to provide viability gap funding under the scheme, a levy of up to Rs 8,500 is being levied for every flight on major routes. However, airlines had raised concerns about the levy and have also challenged it. The government is expected to soon announce the routes and the operators selected under UDAN scheme. Prior to the meeting with the ministers, Choubey had little over an hour-long meeting with officials of airlines and airport operators.