NEW DELHI: India's aviation sector may be one of the fastest growing sectors in the global aviation industry but the punctuality of Indian flights is far from being among the best. This year alone, more than Rs 5 crore has been spent in the last six months on facilitation of passengers due to flight delays. The number of passengers affected due to flight delays is also huge. Over 6.27 lakh passengers were affected due to flight delays. Importantly, these figures pertain to cases only when the flight was delayed by more than two hours, the list of all flight delays is perhaps much longer.
The figures were disclosed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayanty Sinha. According to government data, maximum delays were recorded in the month of January when over 2.39 lakh passengers were affected and more than 1.46 crores were spent on facilitation of such passengers. The second highest number of delays took place in February when over 1 lakh passengers suffered due to flight delays and over Rs 77 lakh were spent for passenger facilitation. Industry experts said weather conditions such as fog must have played a big role in delays during the winter months of January and February. Facilitation involves providing meals to passengers and in the case of delays of longer duration; facilitation also entails providing hotel accommodation.
May and June also recorded many flight delays this year because 91,213 and 85,009 passengers were affected respectively during these months resulting in airlines spending Rs 88.97 lakh and Rs 99.91 lakh for facilitation of passengers in the two months. The minimum expenditure incurred by airlines due to flight delays were in the months of March and April when it spent Rs 61.22 lakh and Rs 65.50 lakh respectively. In March, 56,087 passengers were affected while in April 51,314 passengers suffered due to flight delays.
According to rules, when there is a delay of over 2 hours for a flight, whose duration is also of over 2.5 hours; or the delay is of over 4 hours for flights of shorter duration: airlines have to provide passengers with meals and refreshments in relation to the waiting time. Hotel accommodation has to be provided when the flight is delayed by over 24 hours or when necessary. However, for flights that get delayed by less than 2 hours, customers do not get any compensation.