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Why Jet Airways flights are getting delayed

Jet Airways punctuality has gone for a toss due to the increased pressure on fleet and human resources

Aneesh Phadnis & Arindam Majumder  |  Mumbai/New Delhi 

Jet Airways
Jet Airways

If you are a frequent flyer, chances are there that you have faced a delayed flight more than once in the last few months. Over the past four months, the has been the worst performer on parameters of punctuality in domestic routes with an OTP of 54 percent in November- meaning it barely managed to operate half of its flight on schedule. Rivals and registered an OTP of above 80 percent.

So what went wrong and why is Jet struggling to be punctual? A combination of factors, starting from the airline’s push to increase utilisation of fleet and shortage of human resources to infrastructure bottleneck at airport (the airlines’ hub) has resulted in serial delays with the facing passenger’s ire on social media.

Sources within the suggest that a push to increase the utility of aircraft has resulted in a tight schedule and reduced turnaround time between flights. Turnaround time is the time required to service a plane after its arrival at the gate to prepare it for its next flight.

Unlike its peers, fleet has not expanded rapidly over last two years and most of its capacity increase has come through increasing flying hours of Boeing 737- a mainstay of its fleet which is used on both domestic and short-haul international routes. Currently, it has 78 such planes.

The has been gradually increasing the utilisation of its Boeing 737s over to make up for lack of new planes. The 737 usage increased from 11:25 hours to 13:20 hours daily which is among the highest in the world, the said in a recent investor presentation.

As a result, it was able to increase its domestic capacity by around 30 per cent in the last three years. The added around 25 daily flights on short haul and long haul routes in the winter schedule.

"The schedule has become tight and there is little room for flexibility. It does not allow for schedule recovery by swapping in case the operating aircraft is delayed or develops snags. As such a single flight delay has a knock on effect on all flights operated with that aircraft," said an source.

The increased work hours has simultaneously been accompanied by a shortage in human resources. Sources suggest that the has not been adding new engineers as part of its cost-cutting exercise which is putting pressure on the existing team.

“With less manpower, compulsory transit checks are getting delayed resulting in pressure on the network,” said an engineer working with

sources also blamed the congestion at airport for the delays. is based out of and operates most of its flight from the city.

"Take a look at other airline’s OTP at and it shows that there is an operational problem,” a senior executive said. has an OTP of average 64 percent in November- the worst in the country.

The management is focused on addressing the issue and daily review meetings are being held to improve punctuality. The is also looking to tweak schedules of some of its flights by increasing block times (block time is the time from aircraft pushback from origin to arrival at parking bay at destination) and induct additional planes - measures it hopes will minimise delays. “The addition of 737 Max from mid next year will change the scenario,” the executive said.

First Published: Sun, December 24 2017. 16:29 IST