The Civil Aviation Ministry has requested a reschedule of all turbo-prop flights operating from the Delhi Airport between December 15, 2021, and February 15, 2022, in a bid to decongest the airport during potential fog, which tends to happen at Delhi Airport during these days.
Airlines asked to reschedule
Per multiple reports, first from The Economic Times and then Business Standard, there will be most probably a reschedule of flight timings for flights operated by the turboprop Q400 and ATR42/ATR72 aircraft into Delhi Airport. While the Economic Times states that the move was prompted by the government wanting to decongest airports, Business Standard says this is done to ensure these flights don’t operate when fog and low visibility are witnessed in Delhi.
The turboprops are slower aircraft. Hence they take longer to evacuate the runway on arrival affecting total takeoff/arrivals and hence scoffed upon amongst the jets at congested airports. Although, as per reports, these aircraft are also not equipped to fly under CAT III operations which are required for low-visibility take-off and landings.
Delhi has about 70 flights operating, on a daily basis, with the turboprops, which operate with Alliance Air, IndiGo and SpiceJet and these aircraft will now have to reschedule their flights between 10 am and 9 pm. Airlines operate turboprop aircraft from Delhi to Jodhpur, Shimla, and Kullu, among others.
There were 14 turboprop aircraft with night parking slots at Delhi, including 7 ATR72-600s of Alliance Air, five Q400 of SpiceJet and two ATR 72-600 of IndiGo, as per Network Thoughts. While the winter schedule just got into effect about 40 days ago, changing it again makes no sense because it will impact aircraft rotations altogether and if this was a problem, the concerns should have been raised much earlier, so we got to see how far will this move to reschedule flight timings go forward.
Although if the operations of turboprops are totally banned, then, it means toast for Delhi-based Alliance Air and, it will largely affect SpiceJet which also has a large number of turbo-props based in Delhi. Also, stations such as Kullu and Dharamshala, which can only take turbo-props will have to be closed down for the time being.
This is not the first time such a move has been made. Back in 2014 as well, such a ban was imposed.
Check your flights to see if any schedule change or cancellation is in order if you were booked to fly on a route operated with a turboprop aircraft. This would impact downstream operations as well for most airlines as well, and the timeline is very short, just four days to reschedule everything.
Are you booked to fly an ATR or a Q400 in the next few weeks in or out of Delhi? Have you heard from the airline about a change of times or cancellation of your flight?
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