In­diGo told to keep 15% seats va­cant on Is­tan­bul flights

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - Sau­rabh.Sinha @times­group.com

New Delhi: The avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor on Friday told In­diGo Air­lines to fly its planes with 15-22% seats un­oc­cu­pied while op­er­at­ing on the Delhi-Is­tan­bul route on strong head­wind days. The bud­get air­line’s 186-seater Air­bus A320 Neos should have up to157 pas­sen­gers on board and the 222seater A321s no more than 173 fly­ers on such days.

Direc­torate Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion chief Arun Ku­mar’s di­rec­tive came af­ter pas­sen­gers on many of In­diGo’s Delhi-Is­tan­bul flights in re­cent days had dis­cov­ered af­ter reach­ing their des­ti­na­tion that their bag­gage hadn’t taken off from Delhi.

In its de­fence, the air­line had said that due to strong head­winds, the Delhi-Is­tan­bul fly­ing time had been over seven hours in the past few weeks, which is close to the max­i­mum op­er­at­ing range of the sin­gleaisle Air­bus A320/321s used by it. To carry more fuel, the bag­gage was left be­hind last Sun­day and a few more days of all or most of the pas­sen­gers, it added. Strong head­winds for the west-bound flights will con­tinue for some months.

Chin­may Dabke, a pas­sen­ger on the Sun­day flight, had tweeted, “The air­line did not load the lug­gage of the en­tire flight. Not a sin­gle pas­sen­ger got their lug­gage…My fa­ther has his med­i­ca­tion in his lug­gage.” Re­ply­ing to him, Manoj Jaiswal, who trav­elled on an In­diGo flight a day be­fore, tweeted, “We haven’t re­ceived the bags yet... We are now stranded with fam­ily (old and kids) in a dif­fer­ent coun­try with no ba­sics, medicines. It’s a big mess.”

The air­line has sent an in­di­vid­ual let­ter of re­gret to each af­fected pas­sen­ger along with acoupon of Rs 5,000, which can be used in their fu­ture trav­els, an In­diGo of­fi­cial said. The air­line op­er­ates two daily flights be­tween Delhi and Is­tan­bul. Turk­ish Air­lines is the only other car­rier to fly on the route but doesn’t face this trou­ble as it uses wide-body planes.

Head­winds and tail­winds are ma­jor fac­tors for fuel burn and fly­ing time. Fly­ing to the west takes longer than fly­ing east on most days. For this rea­son, Air In­dia’s Delhi-San Fran­cisco flight fre­quently takes the Pa­cific route to the US and flies back to Delhi over the At­lantic to get tail­winds all the way and save fuel.

The air­line has sent an in­di­vid­ual let­ter of re­gret to each af­fected pas­sen­ger along with a coupon of 5,000, which can be used in their fu­ture trav­els

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.