After long years of monopoly by Air India for overseas destinations and Indian Airlines for domestic sector ( along with Vayudoot in certain sectors), there came a period, when domestic flyers were really pampered and spoilt for choices. I more prominently recall two specific instances – first flying between Delhi and Mumbai in a Modiluft flight that served top quality scotch during the 2 odd hours that we were onboard and a 2.5 hours long flight from Mumbai to Kolkata in a Damania flight that kept us busy all the while with multi course dinner. Air Deccan brought in the novel concept of “ making flying possible for everyone” and it pioneered low cost flying. Later on Jet and Kingfisher took the flying experience to a different level. It’s another story that many of the above names stand consigned to annals of history. The general perception was that aviation companies had since managed to break the logjam and that in future we might not see a repeat of multiple failures witnessed in the past. Indigo led the way by its unique strategy of buy and leaseback and is currently managing a large fleet with more than 50% market share. Others, more pronouncedly SpiceJet and Go First seemed to be doing alright till Go First, owned by Wadia Group, referred itself voluntarily to NCLT. It has since suspended all its flight and stopped booking tickets for future flights.
In one of the previous blogs that dealt with failure of banks, I had suggested that Government should move in swiftly like it did in the case of Yes Bank to minimise the suffering to the common man. The fact remains that whether it’s a bank or airline that fails, sufferer is only the common man. While his hard earned money gets stuck up in the first instance, his hard planned travel plans go haywire in the second. Government cannot be expected to bail out every failed venture, but the regulating and monitoring agencies should preempt such a drastic eventuality, as such rot cannot be setting in overnight!
Just to digress a bit, there should be a thorough investigation and remedial action concerning faults in both – A320 Neo and Boring 737 Max aircrafts that have led a large number of aircrafts to be grounded causing losses to airlines and acute inconvenience to flyers. Whether fault lies in Pratt & Whitney engines or some other spare parts, the fact is that these supposedly new generation and fuel efficient aircrafts seemed to have fallen short of very high standards set up by Airbus and Boeing. If this issue is not fixed immediately and comprehensively, a few other not so financially strong airlines could be in troubled waters.
For the time being, let’s hope that house of Wadias support their dream venture and hand it over to another operator/ owner in a running condition and not as insolvent venture, if they are gonging this non viable to run. Let all the concerned stakeholders, including Aviation ministry, join hands to ensure early resumption of Go First’s operations as its grounding has already caused serious disruption in the market with fares on certain sectors covered by it being skyrocketed!