Sunday, September 20, 2009

Qantas, Air Asia top on-time performance

15 September 2009

NEW DELHI: If you ever wondered why you have to endlessly wait at airports to receive your friend from abroad, here's the answer. Nearly one-third of all incoming flights are late. Departures are only a shade better, with a quarter of all international outbounds delayed. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has for the first time ever given out the on time performance (OTP) figures of foreign airlines

DGCA chief Nasim Zaidi started the practice of studying foreign airline OTP figures and making them public. “Seventy foreign carriers operate to India. At the time of compilation of this report, on time performance data of 38 carriers was received. Other carriers have been told to furnish the on time performance data in the first week of every month,” said an aviation ministry statement. The overall on time performance of these 38 carriers this August was 74.9% for departures and 66.6% for arrivals.

The government also gave out the names of best and worst on time performance airlines so that passengers can choose the more punctual ones. The airlines with best timing performance on arrival and departure side were — Qantas, Air Asia Berhad, Swiss Air, Air Maldives, Air France and Al Nippon. The “worst” on time performance in both departure and arrival had three common names — Air Yemen, Iran Air and Turkish.

“This was the best way of forcing airlines to improve their ontime performance. We had been asking them for years to shape up on this front but since no one knew how erratic their schedules are, they weren’t worried,” said a senior official.

For instance, a domestic regional carrier had below 30% on time performance in the first survey. The figure was made known to public and now that airline has over 80% on time performance. “Foreign airlines are also going to be closely monitored by us on on time performance and safety fronts. We will begin random checking of aircraft of foreign carriers,” said the official.

To improve on time performance, the ministry allowed 24x7 use of Mumbai’s twin runways and is going to start mix mode use of runways at Delhi. Under this, domestic aircraft will land on the runway closer to domestic terminal. At present, they land at a runway that’s at least 30 minutes taxiing time away from domestic terminal.

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