Defunct Jet Airways, which is undergoing insolvency resolution for nearly two years, cannot claim "historicity" for slots at airports, and allocation of slots will be based on existing guidelines, according to an affidavit.
The civil aviation ministry and aviation regulator DGCA have also informed the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) that for claiming historicity, the criteria cannot be based on contention that airline was in operation for 25 years.
Jet Airways, which shuttered operations in April 2019, is undergoing resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The Jalan Kalrock Consortium has emerged as the winning bidder for the carrier and the resolution plan is before NCLT, Mumbai.
NCLT adjourned the hearing on Jet Airways case on Friday and the matter has been scheduled for hearing next week.
Last month, NCLT directed the ministry and DGCA to submit an affidavit clarifying their position on slots for Jet Airways.
In an additional affidavit, submitted to NCLT on Thursday, the ministry and DGCA said Jet Airways does not qualify for grant of slots on the basis of historic precedence and and the allocation will be based on slot allocation guidelines.
Citing the standard operating procedure with respect to slot allocations, it said slots were not reserved for Jet Airways.
"... it is submitted that there can't be any automatic revival of approvals granted to Jet Airways and reinstatement of slots, which were with Jet Airways and the same would be as per the extant guidelines and regulations/rules," the affidavit said.
All the slots were not allotted in one go and they were allotted in phases as per the aircraft and other crew availability plan and in some cases were even taken back from the airline due to non-utilisation. Accordingly, no airline was granted historicity over these slots, as per the affidavit.
"Jet Airways does not qualify for grant of slots on the basis of historic precedence and the submission of the airline that it is in operation for the last 25 years is not a criteria for claiming historicity and it can't substitute the requirements for claiming historic precedence. Thus the claims are wrong and denied," it noted.
While making it clear that the government supports the revival of the grounded airline, the affidavit said that allocation of slots and other approvals would be as per the existing policy and law.
As and when Jet Airways applies for slots, then it would be allocated among all the airlines without any claim of historicity in favour of any airline over these slots. Such allocation of slots would be as per the Slot Allocation Guidelines, 2013, it said.
According to the affidavit, slot allotments were kept temporary so that the same were not wasted by any airline and can be taken back in case of less or non-utilisation.
In March, the ministry and DGCA told NCLT that slots allocated to Jet Airways were not the airline's asset.
After Jet Airways closed down operations, its slots were offered to other airlines so that they can ramp up their capacity at the earliest and were kept temporary.
"Many airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air etc. responded positively and invested huge amount of money and procured number of aircraft immediately and in fact even outnumbered the figure which was reduced on account of suspension of operation by Jet Airways... now such entities can't be deprived of these slots, without any valid reasons and also without any force of law," the affidavit said.
Jet Airways suspended operations on April 17, 2019 and in June 2019, lenders referred Jet Airways to NCLT for resolution under IBC.