The world of aviation can really be confusing or baffling sometimes. Slot pairs, i.e., the rights to land a plane and take it off again at major airports are constrained and hard to get approval for. At some point in time, airports run out of them, slots are limited by the number of planes that can be at a parking slot at an airport at any point of time, the number of runways it has, and the ability of the airport to move planes (takeoff/landing), commonly known as Air Traffic Movement. There are many other factors as well, and I am just putting out a simplistic picture here.
Now, London Heathrow is one of the most slots constrained airport globally, and so much so that they allow airlines to trade slots amongst each other. And these go for millions of dollars. Jet Airways, for instance, sold their three slot pairs at LHR to Etihad for USD 70 million back in 2013, making the going price at over USD 23 million apiece.
Then in 2016, Delta and Jet Airways became buddies, and as a part of the expanded cooperation between both the airlines, Jet Airways took over one of the slot pairs of Delta to launch a third Mumbai – London Heathrow flight, which complimented the transfer of passengers to Virgin Atlantic and Delta to take them to various airports in the USA.
At that time, Delta reduced a 77W flight and Jet Airways added a 77W flight, as per the documents filed at that time.
In an interesting move earlier this week, perhaps related to the ongoing crisis at Jet Airways, the airline cancelled the third of their Mumbai – London Heathrow flights in the last minute move. The move seems to be knee jerk, and we really don’t know what happened in this case which made Jet Airways pull out of this route, and Delta take back the route, but it has led to a hilarious situation.
Here is the slot swap form which was filed and approved between the two airlines last week, for the summer schedule.
Now, I can understand that this was a rush job, and Delta or their partners could not perhaps find a plane to mount a new flight to London at this short notice. But, but, but… the form was all sorts of wrong.
First and foremost, the aircraft type lists a DH4, which is a De Havilland Canada DHC-8-400 Dash 8Q, a turboprop aircraft.
I went about Delta’s website to find out if they have such an aircraft in their fleet, and no, they don’t.
Next, I thought I’d check if the aircraft in question could even fly the distance. For the record, the distance between Detroit and London Heathrow is about 3800 miles.
But heck, the aircraft could only fly 1100 Miles in one go pushing its limits.
I really really admire the humour of whosoever who filled up the form, given that this flight never went up for sale, and for thinking about a Q400 when flying Detroit – London Heathrow flights. I guess the mail days of flying are back when the plane would hop across various airstrips before making it to the final destination.
What do you make out of all the gibberish filled up on this slot transfer form for London Heathrow?