Was allocation of airline routes favored, asks Supreme Court says

Supreme Court asks If private airlines get lucrative sectors to operate, then they should also cater to uneconomical destinations.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]upreme Court on Tuesday took exception to the government allowing the private airlines to operate on “lucrative routes” while escaping from flying on the less profitable destinations.

The business of running and operating airlines is detailed well in Airport Economics.

A bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, said that, the government is giving lucrative destinations on platter to private operators. Cream is taken away by big operators. They also added that the operators are allowed to shun less profitable routes.

Chief Justice of Supreme Court Thakur asked the government to file an affidavit spelling out its licencing policy. He said that the policy needs to be set out set out such that if they get lucrative sectors to operate then they have to cater to uneconomical destinations too.

The order passed by the bench said that, “File an affidavit by the government setting out the policy, if any, governing the allotment/grant of licence to operate commercial/scheduled airlines in various sectors within and outside the country.” It directed the next hearing of the matter on March 9.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]”W[/dropcap]e will direct you to attach such a condition, that if want to fly on lucrative sectors, then you fly to Shimla (uneconomical destinations) also,” said the Supreme Court in the course of the hearing of a plea by Air India against the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s December 7 order asking it to commence flights on trial basis connecting Shimla with Delhi by air.

Additional Solicitor General P.S.Patwalia appearing for the government told the Supreme Court that he had tried to persuade the national carrier to operate on Delhi-Shimla sector but they cite the estimated loss of Rs.1 crore in bringing it on the air map.

The national carrier has earlier told the court that the flight connecting Shimla with Delhi was not economical as there were 12 to 15 one way passengers only, and that Shimla airport did not have refuelling facilities.

However, the court was told on Tuesday that all the operational problems at Shimla airport have been overcome and tests flights are being undertaken.

The apex court had on December 16, 2015, ordered status quo, putting on hold the December 7 high court direction.



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