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IndiGo asking for help from government to settle Delhi airport terminal row

IndiGo is seeking the intervention of the Civil Aviation Ministry in the hopes settling the issue of Delhi airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), which is asking the low-cost carrier to move a third of its operations from terminal 1 to terminal 2, a move the airlines describes as “arbitrary, illegal and mala fide.”

IndiGo wrote a letter and addressed it to the Ministry as well as DIAL, and demanded that the latter “reconsider and withdraw” its mandate.

The Ministry had penned a letter to the airlines back in June, requesting them to arrive at a cordial solution over the relocating of flights, failure at which would force the regulator to make a decision that would be binding on them.

The letter from IndiGo follows the order from DIAL asking GoAir, IndiGo and SpiceJet to shift a third of their operations.

GoAir, however, recently declared that it was moving its entire operations to the new terminal.

“The unilateral decision by DIAL to allow one airline (GoAir) to shift its entire operations from terminal 1 to terminal 2, while at the same time directing two other airlines (SpiceJet and IndiGo) to relocate in part…is arbitrary, illegal and mala fide,” said IndiGo President and Whole Time Director, Aditya Ghosh, in the letter sent to to Civil Aviation Secretary R.N. Choubey and DIAL CEO I. Prabhakara Rao.

He said that the move results in “hostile discrimination” and causes “prejudice” and trouble to passengers travelling from specific airlines. When the DIAL started talks with airlines on shifting of flights from terminal 1 (T1) to T2 in January this year, it had placed three options on the table—shift one airline, relocate some flights of all three airlines, reduce flights in peak hours by 20% for all three airlines at T1 and shift them to non-peak hours in T2.

IndiGo also reasons that since GoAir has acquiesced to move to the new terminal, the first option offered by DIAL has been satisfied and IndiGo and SpiceJet shouldn’t have to move any of their flights.

“In these circumstances, there was no occasion for DIAL to assume authority and to exercise discretion in order to arbitrarily impose its option 2 of split operations on the remaining two airlines, i.e. SpiceJet and IndiGo,” the letter stated.

Ghosh says in the letter that IndiGo was prepared to shift completely to T2 if DIAL could offer added bussing gates and sufficient night parking bays but the airport operator said these were not “feasible.” IndiGo argued that if it moves some of its flights to T2, it would be operating out of three terminals at Indira Gandhi International Airport, which would put it at a “competitive disadvantage” and “shift the level playing field” as compared to the airlines that have all their flights from a single terminal, i.e terminal 3 (T3).

The move, said IndiGo, would discriminate between passengers and airlines and is therefore “arbitrary and illegal.” Ghosh also wrote that relocating flights by October 29 would be impossible as it has a massive number of advance bookings for the month of October. It has also asked for at least 120 days to apply a “mutually acceptable plan” on relocating of flights.

 

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