Looking at the troubles Spicejet is undergoing at the moment, the regulator for aviation safety in India, DGCA, ordered them to stop accepting bookings beyond the 30 day period, amongst other measures they took against the airline over last weekend.

First things first, here on, because Spicejet’s schedule integrity has gone for a toss, the DGCA ordered it to stop bookings for a period more than 30 days out. Initially, Spicejet did not comply with this decision, however here on, you cannot book Spicejet tickets more than 30 days out. Their website displays this notification very clearly. When I tried searching for a ticket more than 30 days out, I got nothing.

image

However, they are still selling tickets for the period up to 30 days. Existing reservations for 2015 are not in danger at the moment, and the regulator has not ordered for tickets more than a month out to be refunded.

I think this is a precarious situation, where the regulator is trying to save the passengers from inconvenience by making sure the airline does not take on more on its plate, but it will harm the business for SpiceJet in return. The airline is already under a financially stressed condition, and right now a middle-path should be arrived at with the vendors including Airports rather than pushing the airline off the cliff and hastening their demise.

Right now, the Airport Authority of India has also worked towards being a part of the problem by asking SG to be put on cash and carry across the country wherever they are at an AAI operated airport (which is most of them!)

The airline is in about USD 2 billion of debt at the moment, as per media reports, and needs someone to take on a stake in the airline to clear up this debt. Of course, it has been one of the longest running low-cost carriers in India, and has gone through its fair share of turbulence with a bad economy.

I hope they survive to see another day.

Have any of you seen cancellations on your SG flights and how has the airline dealt with your situations?

Join over 4000 people who check-in daily to find out about the best in travel.
Free emails (once-a-day) | RSS Feeds | Facebook Updates | Twitter | Instagram

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

The Directorate General for Civil Aviation, which is India’s aviation regulator, does not have a clue of what it can and what it can’t do. As a result, people in their office think that they can regulate anything that has the word aviation in it, or air, or something like that. They’ve tried intervening in fare sales, airline pricing and so on. However, from the “About DGCA” page on their website, updated in September 2013, their key function is listed below as:

Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the regulatory body governing the safety aspects of civil aviation in India.

I consider that sorted then, about the real purpose of DGCA is to take care of aviation safety and that should be its domain. So, until it becomes the CAA and does not undo its downgrade to category II by the FAA, the key focus should be aviation standards.

Instead, it came out with a new circular on Monday, which details facilities that should be provided to passengers at airports. Have a go at this:

  • Airline/airport operator shall ensure provision of automated buggies free of charge for all senior citizens, expectant mothers and disabled passengers in the terminal building to facilitate their access to boarding gates located beyond reasonable walking distance at all airports having annual aircraft movements of 50,000 or more. This facility may be extended to other needy passengers on demand basis free of charge.
  • Airport operators shall provide small trolleys after security check for
    carriage of hand baggage (permitted as per regulation) up to the boarding gate.
  • Airport operator shall adequately display information regarding
    availability of automated buggies and small trolleys in the terminal building at prominent locations including dos and don’ts regarding the same.

Further, they’ve put penal provisions in place if ground staff do not behave politely with customers.

Now, to me, this clearly is a move by a confused DGCA trying to get their mojo back and overstepping their authority. They are trying to make their problem of receiving customer complaints someone else’s, but in the process forgetting the protocol would have been to have Airports Authority of India deal with it.

Related Posts:

Join over 3200 people who check-in daily to find out about the best in travel.
Free emails (once-a-day) | RSS Feeds | Facebook Updates | Twitter | Instagram

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

A few weeks back I had written about the regulatory notification which modified the rules for the use of Personal Electronic Devices on airplanes while in flight and on the ground. Since then, I’ve waited for airlines to go ahead and execute the rules on the ground. I’m glad to report now it is no issue to use your electronics on board. Here is a collection of various domestic airlines and how they are implementing the rule at this moment:

  • SpiceJet: SpiceJet was the first off the block. They claim they were the first to implement the revised rules, however they are allowing the use of PEDs/phones only above 10,000 feet even now. As per their COO, they don’t find it safe yet to have phones on during take off and landing stages.
  • Jet Airways/JetKonnect: Jet Airways has followed a similar interpretation like SpiceJet, and allows use of PEDs/phones only while cruise phase of the flight. However, last week on one of their flights, I do not remember an explicit announcement for me to switch off my devices. Read their Terms & Conditions under the Usage of Mobile Phones section.
  • Air India: I flew with Air India last week, and they allowed the use of PEDs/phones in flight gate to gate. The advise during security briefing has been changed from switching off mobile phones to putting all devices with a flight safe/flight mode to the transmission off mode.

  • Indigo: Mobile phones are allowed inflight, gate to gate, however in flight-safe/flight mode. Other PEDs are allowed only during the cruise mode of the flight, i.e., above 10,000 feet. I don’t think this has been worded properly, because ideally even iPads and tablets should be allowed on throughout the phases of the flight.

Now, I haven’t been on GoAir in a very long time, and their customer service team also did not respond to my query yet. I will update this post when I get an update from them.

What has been your experience in using your electronic devices on board since this month?

Related Posts:

Join over 3200 people who check-in daily to find out about the best in travel.
Free emails (once-a-day) | RSS Feeds | Facebook Updates | Twitter | Instagram

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

For the longest time, India has had a rule, which stated that Portable Electronic Devices could not be used while planes are airborne, not even in flight-safe/airplane mode. Not that it dissuaded passengers because we thought our rules were in line with the rest of the world and hence we continued to use them anyways. […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | One Comment

In a not-so-surprise move by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), after their second review of the Directorate General of Indian Aviation (DGCA) in December 2013, they have downgraded the rating to Category 2, putting India in the same league as Ghana, Barbados and Bangladesh apart from some other countries (a total of 12). The inference […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

Last week was full of news articles about how a new Aviation regulator is coming up for India. The currently existing Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGCA) will soon be replaced with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which will be an autonomous regulator for Indian civil aviation, unlike DGCA which is under the Ministry of […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

The Indian Civil Aviation market is up for a change, since after years of disallowing unbundling of fares, the aviation regulator & minister have finally come around to allow this move, in line with global practices. As per the new regulations, notified earlier this evening, the aviation regulator has allowed the following services to be […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | One Comment

I got quite some amount of pushback on the SpiceJet sale that happened last weekend and I thought I’d pen down my thoughts here. I think there were 2 sorts of concerns, firstly about people not being able to find the fare and secondly about the concept of the sale as a whole, with a […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 3 Comments

Last year in October, I wrote about the Indian aviation regulator sending a stinker to all foreign airlines operating from India, about the baggage allowance of 1 23 kg (50 lb) checked-bag being not the standard offer for passengers travelling economy, while all Indian airlines offer 2×23 kgs (50 lb) baggage to be checked-in. We never heard […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | No Comments

I don’t intend to be soothsayer on this blog, but at the same time not a doomsayer either! I’ve been trying to be very positive about Kingfisher Airlines in my head for a very long time, and something tells me, that if they survive this ongoing phase of problems, they will come back as a […]

Posted by Ajay Awtaney | 7 Comments

« previous home top