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Go First likely to lose slots if suspension continues

According to a report by The Hindustan Times, low-fare airline Go First may lose valuable airport slots to other airlines if its operations remain suspended, two people aware of the matter said. Given the intense demand for airport slots, authorities and stakeholders may be forced to allocate them to other airlines ready to operate a route, first on an ad-hoc basis and later permanently if Go First remains grounded, one of the two people cited above said.

A slot is a specific period of 5-20 minutes during which an aircraft can take off or land. Slot timing can impact airline yield, revenue, efficiency and profitability. Given the high demand for early morning and late evening flights, slots at these times generate better yields for airlines.

“High demand during the upcoming peak summer travel season is another factor which is set to accelerate the process of other airlines getting additional aircraft to deploy capacity on routes which have seen a significant dip in the number of flights leading to skyrocketing airfares amid strong travel sentiment,” the second person added.

Data from the travel website Ixigo showed last-minute fares on the Delhi-Leh route now cost over INR 29,000, nearly five times the cost of spot bookings a week back at around INR 6,000. Similarly, Delhi-Srinagar flights are now approximately three times more expensive, costing nearly INR 27,000 compared to INR 9,000 a week earlier. Spot airfares for flights on routes where Go First operated, such as Mumbai-Goa, have more than doubled to around INR 10,000 from nearly INR 4,000 a week ago.

The Wadia Group-backed airline has voluntarily filed for insolvency at the National Court of Law Tribunal; however, its petition is yet to be admitted. The court reserved its order after an hours-long hearing on 2 May.

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