Vistara Airlines has paid a record fine of 70 lakh to India’s civil aviation regulator for failing to operate the required minimum number of flights to the nation’s northeastern underserved areas.
DGCA fines Vistara ₹70L
The full-service carrier was penalised by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in October of last year for breaking the rules in April. An official who wished to remain anonymous stated, “The airline paid the fine this month.
Director general Arun Kumar acknowledged the development but chose not to address it further.
“As a law-abiding organisation and in conformity with the order, Vistara has paid the penalty under protest. We further affirm that we continued to deploy capacity over the RDG (route dispersal guidelines) required since that time.”A Vistara representative told
According to officials, Vistara was unable to conduct one flight out of Bagdogra, and as a result, a record-breaking fine was placed on the airline.
Srinagar-Jammu-Srinagar, Bagdogra-Dibrugarh-Bagogra, and Dibrugarh-Guwahati-Dibrugarh are the CAT IIA routes that Vistara offers using RDGs.
The available seat kilometres (ASKM) for Vistara for April 2022 were found to be 0.99%, which is less than the 1% threshold set by the civil aviation ministry for northeastern routes.
“As required by the RDG rule, we have routinely deployed more ASKMs than necessary in the various categories. We were prepared to deploy significantly more ASKM in April 2022 than was necessary for each category, which would have produced 1.22% more flights on CAT IIA routes than was necessary (1% vs. 1%), the airline added. However, some flights had to be cancelled due to Bagdogra airport’s shutdown, resulting in a shortfall of just 0.01% in the necessary number of flights in April 2022.”
The airline responded when the issue was brought up in October of last year, according to a second official. The official, who wished to remain unnamed, stated, “Their reply, however, was not judged to be adequate by the DGCA even in their appeal.”
Flights inside these regions are categorised as category IIA, as are flights connecting to airports in the northeast, such as Bagdogra in West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar, and Lakshadweep.
The second official stated that “Vistara had previously defaulted in the requirement of ASKM deployment in CAT IIA routes of route dispersal guidelines in November, December, and January 2018, but that no penalty was imposed at the time because there was no provision for levying a penalty before May 2021.”
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