India’s oldest private airline—Jet Airways—continues its journey through the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). In spite of an investor lined up, the Rs 1000-crore bid is stalled over the issue of grant of slots—effectively, permissions for takeoff and landing at airports. On April 15, when a key decision on slots was expected, Jet found itself being handed yet another date in May.
The Jet Airways’ position is: it should be able to reclaim the slots that were “temporarily assigned” to other airlines during the period of its grounding. The government and other airlines contend this cannot be done because it is in violation of existing principles. Effectively, that implies that Jet has to get in line once more and reapply. The matter is to be decided in a bankruptcy court and the decision is now further delayed. Paradoxically, the delay may not spell total doom.
THE SLOT FIXATION
The Jet revival hinges on this key decision because a good portfolio of slots translates into a good schedule. And, this is amplified in an intensively competitive market like India. The most coveted business passengers that choose flights based on schedule alone are what every airline is targeting.
But as pricing between airlines has converged, passengers are having the last laugh with business and leisure travellers alike choosing flights based on price and schedule and getting the best of both.