Friday, June 17, 2005

Air jam

India is heading for a traffic jam in the air. There is a profusion of budget airlines. Choose from Spice, Air Deccan, Air India Express, Kingfisher and some more in the wings.

Many of these fledgling carriers are out shopping for planes. Half of the worlds new planes are being ordered by Indian carriers. It is great that cheap tickets allow everybody to fly. But there are a few glitches

Our airports are pathetic (usully worse than bus stations, but for the fact that they are airconditioned).
Do we have so many pilots?
Do we have so much maintenance facilities?
Do we have sufficient infrastructure at our airports?

Something that is covered in this piece

... "The world is sceptical about the way Indian new-born carriers are ordering planes. How are they going to get so many pilots, where is the infrastructure?" ...

Elsewhere it says

...Complete unknowns—until even a few days ago. IndiGo Air, promoted by Delhi based air travel services company InterGlobeEnterprises, on Thursday announced the acquisition of 100 A-320 aircraft...

100 A-320's!!! The world over, aviation industry hasnt exactly been a money spinner, so it really is surprising to see experienced as well as neophytes leap into the air race.

There is no denying the fact that We do need better and cheaper air connectivity. To fly from Bangalore to Bhubhaneshwar is costlier than flying from Bangalore to Colombo or Singapore, which is ridiculous. But do we have the bandwidth to take these on? Assuming all orders translate into reality, will our airports be modern enough to take on so much traffic? Will airports help us tide over our bad roads?

Of course, considering many of these are just orders and will take a while to translate into planes and may not translate 100% into planes (cancellations, backing out etc. etc, the air traffic jam is some way off. For the time being, it is an interesting time for the travellers as prices get slashed.


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Charu said...

No way is our airport infrastructure in place to handle so much air trafic - taking a flight out of Bombay - which departs on time - for instance, is gettting more and more a probablility game. London has four major airports in and around (not to mention different terminals inside each) and the air scene there is still a mess - given the state of our airpors, I hate to think of the traffic jams that are bound to occur :)

Rashmi Bansal said...

Here's the biggest joke. On a 45 minute flight from Goa to Bombay the plane may have to hover another 20 minutes because it's 7th in the landing sequence. Imagine the fuel wastage! One of these days there is going to be a major takkar too...

Laks said...

If the govt. restricts itself to regulator role, things might move on a much faster scale. They should concentrate on augmenting air traffic control, secutiry, land acquisition for new airports leaving flying airplanes, building/maintaining airport to private folks. Plus, they serioulsy need to change the antiquated regulations: for eg, before flying an airline co. has to physically send a messenger to the local meteorological office to get the weather report instead of sending directly to the plane via Internet. There was a recent article on this.

Neelakantan said...

This undercutting cannot go on for long. A shakeout is inevitable. Till then, consumers enjoy!

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