The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been directed by the Delhi High Court to place before it the traffic load of three airlines – IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air – from April 1 to December 31, 2017.
A division bench of high court directed the DGCA to file a short affidavit after the airlines challenged the December 20 order of the single judge denying them any relief from part shifting of their operations from T-1 to T-2.
The airlines had challenged various directions/ communication from DIAL between September and October 2017, directing them to operate their flights, to and fro Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru from Terminal-2 of IGI w.e.f. January 4, 2018.
Interglobe Aviation, which provides services in the name of IndiGo, represented by senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Sandeep Sethi filed the appeal challenging the single judge order while maintaining that the entire decision of DIAL of shifting three sectors to T2 is arbitrary.
Go Air represented by senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, Darpan Wadhva and Raj Shekhar Rao, along with Meghna Mishra, Partner and Ankit Rajgarhia, senior advocate from Karanjawala & Co, stated that Go Air has already shifted to T2 with effect from October 29, 2017.
Go Air further submitted that its traffic load is minuscule and, therefore, dividing its sectors between the two terminals would not be appropriate.
After hearing the parties at length, the division bench of the high court asked the DGCA to file a short affidavit showing the traffic load of the three airlines from April 1 to December 31, 2017.
Meanwhile, another petition filed by the Air Passengers’ Association contending that it was never consulted by DIAL before part shifting of airline operations to T-2 was not entertained by the court.
It was then allowed to be withdrawn.
It is to be noted that on December 20 last year, the single judge of high court had dismissed IndiGo’s challenge to the directions of DIAL while observing that traffic load at Terminal-1 was much beyond its capacity and such shifting was in larger public interest.
It had, however, extended the deadline for shifting of operations from January 4 to February 15.
While the airlines had rued about inconvenience caused to passengers by such shifting, the DIAL had submitted that during the period of re-development of Terminal-1, it would reduce boarding gates from 15 to 10 and aircraft parking stand from 55 to 33, bringing down the capacity of Terminal-1 to 13 million passengers per annum (mppa). It had also cited pressure on airport infrastructure at T-1.
It said with IndiGo's traffic in financial year 2017-18 at an estimated at 18.1 mppa approx., it cannot operate entirely either out of Terminal-1 (capacity of 17 mppa) or Terminal-2 (with a capacity of 12 mppa).
DIAL had also submitted that even with the shifting of operations of Go Air to Terminal-2, the traffic at Terminal-1 is expected to be approx. 23 mppa, which would be in excess of maximum existing capacity of 20 mppa, which requires to be further reduced to between 13 and 17 mppa.