In the recently held press conference, Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister of India has stated that government is working to efficiently utilize airspace over India to reduce flying time of passenger aircrafts, which will benefit both the air carriers and environment.
Currently only 60 percent of the Indian airspace is freely available for passenger aircrafts and rest is controlled by military. Utilizing the other airspace will reduce flying cost upto Rs 1000 crore by saving fuel and time. While the benefits will soak in losses incurred by airlines due to Coronavirus, it will eventually be passed to flyers, reducing ticket prices.
Earlier, PM Narendra Modi held a meeting between officials from Indian aviation industry, the Home Minister, the Finance Minister, and other senior officials of the Government of India for a comprehensive review of the strategies that could help in making India’s Civil Aviation sector more efficient.
It was decided in the meeting that the Indian Air Space should be effectively used in such a manner that the flying time is reduced benefiting the travelers and also helping the airlines to save costs in close co-operation with the Department of Military Affairs.
This essentially means that passenger aircrafts in India can now fly over prohibited zones designated by military due to their sensitive nature to cut short the journey from one city to another. This will save both fuel and time for the flights, making them more cost effective.
This move comes after the Indian aviation industry is struggling from impact of coronavirus. To implement social distancing norms, many air carriers might not book the middle seats, hence reducing their earnings. However, the move to shorten flying time can save considerable amount of money in fuel savings and turnaround time.
For reference, Delhi-Mumbai average flying time is 2 hr. If a more direct route is taken, the flight time can be reduced by at least 15-30 minutes, bringing the flight time to less than 2 hrs. This essentially means a saving of at least 1000 litre of fuel, which is a huge amount for the air carriers. Also the turnaround time is improved, which means more flights in a day, increasing the operational profits for air carriers.