This airline has got the most passenger complaints in recent months (and it is not SpiceJet)

Despite its many troubles, SpiceJet’s performance has not been the worst on some parameters.

There is a big question mark hanging over the fate of Indian budget carrier SpiceJet. Despite a new promoter tying up with JP Morgan to infuse money, the airline’s financial troubles are not completely over. In the last few months, it has been forced to cancel over 2,000 flights, shut operations on many regional sectors with low volumes, and return half of its fleet of Boeing aircraft after defaulting on lease payments.

In this time of uncertainty, it would be expected that the airline would be swamped with complaints from passengers. As it turns out, SpiceJet does have its fair share of unhappy flyers, but it is other airlines that have notched up more complaints from their customers.

According to data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, GoAir had the most passenger complaints from October to December 2014, the same period when SpiceJet underwent its most turbulent phase. In two of those months, Air India too was ahead of SpiceJet in the complaints tally.

As the above chart shows, GoAir logged 6.2 complaints per 10,000 flyers it carried in December. SpiceJet, in contrast, received 3.1 complaints per 10,000 passengers.

Last week, the aviation regulator lifted a ban on advance seat bookings by SpiceJet, and, a few days later, the carrier offered cut-rate prices on 5 lakh seats across sectors during the coming lean season to shore up its revenues.

Even during the months its operations were hit the hardest, SpiceJet was still not the airline with the worst on-time performance. That dubious distinction went to Air India.

The data released by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation shows that SpiceJet flights reached their destination on schedule 83.3% of the time in October 2014, while Air India flights could do that just about 63.3% of the time. The next month, the figure for SpiceJet was 78.3% and for Air India 72.3%.

In December, as happens every year because of winter fog, the on-performance of all airlines dipped. For instance, IndiGo, which had an on-time performance of over 92% in October and November, could manage only 77% at the year end.

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