Airlines’ battle over punctuality reaches DGCA

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NEW DELHI: Indian carriers are locked in a bitter battle to prove they are more punctual than the others.

On Tuesday, low cost carrier (LCC) SpiceJet chairman Ajay Singh met Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) chief BS Bhullar to “express serious concern over the regulator setting up a committee to look into the on time performance (OTP) mechanism following a complaint by IndiGo, said a source.
DGCA had formed a panel to examine OTP mechanism as IndiGo – which used to earlier top the punctuality rankings given by the regulator but in recent months has been overtaken by some other airlines – complained about the monitoring system.
“SpiceJet has yet again recorded the best OTP at the Delhi airport in December while Jet topped the ranking in Mumbai. The data collection system at airports like Mumbai has been in place for many years, it was pointed to the DGCA. DGCA assured that it would carry out a fair evaluation. Airline representatives will also be included in the committee formed to look into the OTP issue,” said a source while describing what transpired in the Bhullar-Singh meeting.

This OTP has created lot of troubles when they hover over busiest airports and forcing the ATC with false alarm, asking passengers to clean their seats etc. But their intention to get good OTP is admirable.Mani

“As long as IndiGo had the best OTP, the mechanism to calculate OTP by DGCA and airports was perfect…. Now, for many months when their OTP has been (falling), they are questioning the DGCA mechanism to calculate OTP itself! As long as you were number one the mechanism was fine, now it is flawed. These are clear double standards,” said an airline official, adding, “Tomorrow, if an airline questions the passenger traffic data, will the DGCA constitute a committee to investigate that too?”
An IndiGo spokesman said: “We have questioned the discrepancy in the OTP data that we have seen and also provided evidence of the same to the DGCA. Manual recording and reporting of OTP data is prone to manipulation and not in the interest of consumers. The reaction of some airlines is surprising. If their OTP data is indeed genuine there is no reason for them to be nervous or oppose a fair and independent investigation.”