AAI begins year-long study to improve slot allotment at six major airports

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Published: June 23, 2019 12:35:36 PM

The AAI owns and manages more than 100 airports across the country.

Airport Authority of India, airports, DGCA, ATFM, Jet Airways, air traffic, slot distribution, The official said the AAI is doing one year of analysis as the flight schedule changes every six months.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has started a year-long study to analyse air traffic, slot distribution and infrastructure at six major airports – Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata – in order to improve the mechanism of slot allotment, said its senior officials. A slot is a specific date and time at which an airline can arrive or depart at an airport.

It is allocated by a committee that comprises officials from the respective airport, aviation ministry, AAI, airlines, aviation regular DGCA, etc. “After one year, the results of this year-long study will be presented back to the DGCA and the ministry to take a call on how to improve slot allotment in the next year…We will take help of the central ATFM (air traffic flow management) in this year-long study,” a senior AAI official told PTI.

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The AAI owns and manages more than 100 airports across the country. Recently, when Jet Airways temporarily shut down its operations on April 17, a tussle had erupted among the other airline companies in India to corner most of the Jet’s vacated slots, especially the ones at congested airports of Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai.

The fight for slots had erupted as there is no written mechanism in India to allocate slots if an airline – in this case it was Jet Airways – temporarily shuts down its operations. Another senior AAI official told PTI, “Six major airports – Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai – have been identified where the analysis needs to take place. This exercise has been started in the month of May this year, and it will continue till March 2020.”

“We have been asked to study all aspects – air traffic, slot availability and its allotment, infrastructure availability and its future requirement, etc. – so that slot distribution mechanism can improve from next year onward,” the official added.

The official said the AAI is doing one year of analysis as the flight schedule changes every six months. “This happens due to summer season and winter season. The wind keeps changing. That is the reason why airlines also keep asking for different slots in these two seasons,” the official said.

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