Aviation

SC threatens to audit DGCA on route licensing

This is find out why the national carrier was making losses

DELHI: ┬áThe Supreme Court on Tuesday asked DGCA whether lucrative sectors were being handed out as “largesse” to private airlines to the detriment of state-run Air India.

It threatened an audit of licensing policies to find out why the national carrier was making losses unless the government ensured that private airlines flew on routes that weren’t lucrative as mandated under the rules, reports The Economic Times.

The court was hearing a petition seeking a Delhi-Shimla flight, which the aviation ministry has been resisting on the grounds that the airfield was small and that Air India didn’t have planes of the right size.

The bench comprising chief justice TS Thakur and justice R Banumathi threatened the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) with an audit by former comptroller and auditor general Vinod Rai.

Under route dispersal guidelines, all private airlines have to connect not-so-profitable routes as well. But most leave the task to the national carrier, causing it huge losses, the court had observed earlier.

Appearing for DGCA, additional solicitor general PS Patwalia initially sought more time from the court to allow the regulator to revisit route dispersal guidelines to deal with lack of connectivity to areas such as Shimla. However, he later urged the court not to direct an audit by Rai.

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