Prime time slots for flights may be auctioned as part of new Civil Aviation policy


Airlines wanting prime-time departure and arrival slots at airports may have to bid for their preferred choices as the government is mulling to auction these slots as part of a shake-up in civil aviation policy.

"We will be coming up with a new computerised system of slot allotment at airports, which is currently allotted to airlines by the airports. There is no transparency in it. We are also mulling to auction some prime slots," Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said.

According to the present policy, an airline has to file its schedule to the civil aviation regulator – Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) -- which allocates the slots in consultation with airport operators.

Airlines have been alleging partiality in slot allocations, especially at busy airports like the ones in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, with all of them wanting prime time arrival and departure from these airports.

Singh said there was a need for change in the policies in place now as these rules were made several years back. "Things have changed now. We need to adapt to the changing times."

If the policy is implemented then some airlines might lose their prime slots, like those allocated to them but were not being operated.

Recently, the DGCA had found that airlines were neither utilising their alloted slots nor they were ready to surrender. 

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